The Differences in Scrap Copper Grades

Author:Suny Group

Recycling copper wire can bring you economic benefits because recycled copper is worth up to 90% as much as new copper. Knowing how to classify scrap copper could help you to recognize whether the copper scraps you have are eligible for recycling. The following information will do you a favor to know about different copper scraps.

The most valuable form of scrap copper is known as "Number 1 heavy scrap" including bus bars, clippings and wiring with a thickness of 1/16 or more. These pieces are made of unalloyed copper that is clean and uncoated.

The second most valuable form of scrap is called "Number 2 scrap copper wire." Like heavy scrap, materials included in this classification are clean and unalloyed but, in this case, they may be coated or oxidized as long as they do not have too much soldering. Copper pieces that fall into this group consist of light gauge wiring and coated variants of bus bars, clippings and commutatators.

The third most valuable form of copper scrap is referred to as "soldered copper pipe scrap” including copper pipe with soldered joints. Scraps of beryllium that are alloyed with copper will net the fourth highest price.

The fourth most valuable form of copper scrap is items like piping, bars, tubing, and elbows are often made from this material and are eligible for recycling.

The fifth highest price is paid for items that classify as "light scrap." This group includes copper sheets, gutters, downspouts, boilers, kettles, copper foil and unburned electric wires. These materials may only have oxidation on their surface, not in their inner components, in order to be recycled.

Depending on the condition, many other smaller components may qualify as scrap for recycling purposes as long as they contain more than 30% copper. While these smaller and less pure pieces will not fetch a high price when turned into a recycling facility.