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Types of Scrap Copper


pennys 300x200 Types of Scrap CopperRecycling copper is a large segment of the recycling industry. Because of this many people take their used copper in to recycling centers to garner an extra bit of cash. One of the most important things regarding the recycling of copper, though, is knowing and understanding the different types of scrap copper that can be recycled. Each type of scrap copper also brings in a different amount of cash per pound. If you’re interested in recycling copper, the following information will be very beneficial.

  • The most desired form of scrap copper is No. 1 heavy scrap. It consists of uncoated, clean, unalloyed copper and can include punchings, clippings, bus bars, pipe, wire over 1/16’ thick with no burnt or brittle wire and commutator segments. No. 1 heavy scrap copper brings the highest price for recycled copper.
  • No. 2 scrap copper wire brings the second highest price for recycled copper. It consists of clean, non-alloyed copper. It needs to be clean, but can be oxidized or coated clippings, bus bars, punchings, commutator segments. It can also include clean oxidized pipe or tubing, but should be free of excessive solder. Light gauge, clean, coated or oxidized wire is also allowed, but must be free of fine gauge wire. All No. 2 scrap copper should be free of excessive oxidization, ash, brittle burnt wire and scale.
  • The third category of scrap copper is soldered copper pipe scrap. It can consist of any length of copper pipe that has soldered joints. It should be free of bronze or brass fittings or any other fittings that are not made of copper.
  • Beryllium copper scrap consists of solid beryllium alloyed copper. It can be in the form of clippings, pipe, tubing and elbows, bar or punchings. Beryllium copper brings the fourth highest price for recycled copper.
  • Light scrap copper contains unalloyed copper solids and can include sheet copper, downspouts, gutters, foil, unburned hair wire, boilers and kettle. Light scrap copper is generally any thin gauge scrap copper or solid copper with a high surface area that has only surface oxidation. The minimum re-melt recovery rate for light scrap copper is 88%.
  • Copper Turnings are recovered from unalloyed grindings, borings or turnings and they may be contaminated with cutting oils.
  • No. 1 Bare bright copper wire is uncoated, unalloyed, bare copper wire that is larger than 16 gauge. Green wire is not allowed in this category.
  • No. 1 Copper wire scrap is recovered from clean, unalloyed, uncoated wire that is no smaller than 16 gauge.
  • No. 2 Copper wire scrap includes only unalloyed, clean copper wire. Hair wire, burnt and brittle wire and any wire that has excessive oils on it is not allowed. The minimum content within the re-melt recovery rate of No. 2 copper wire scrap is 94%.
  • No. 1 Copper wire nodules consist of No. 1 bare, unalloyed, uncoated copper wire nodules that are gathered from choppings or shredding and are no smaller than 16 gauge. No. 1 copper wire nodules provide a 99% content re-melt recovery rate.
  • No. 2 Copper wire nodules provide a 97% minimum copper content in the re-melt recovery rate. This category consists of No. 2 copper wire nodules that are unalloyed and are from a shredding or chopping operation.
  • No. 1 Insulated copper wire scrap is recycled from plastic insulated, uncoated or plated, unalloyed wire that is larger than 16 gauge.
  • No. 2 Insulated copper wire scrap consists of different plastic insulated, unalloyed copper wire, which is free of double insulation or heavy insulation.
  • No. 3 Insulated copper wire scrap is made up of assorted unalloyed copper wire that is plastic insulated and includes telephone cable and heavy or double insulated wire.
  • The Copper/Aluminum BX cable scrap category is made up of plastic insulated copper wire that is coated with aluminum casing.
  • Copper/Steel BX cable scrap is taken from plastic insulated copper wire that is coated with a steel casing.
  • The scrap copper/fractional electric motors category includes less than 1 horsepower electric motors and small copper coil windings.
  • Scrap copper/large electric motors are in a category consisting of large copper coil windings. These motors are over 1 horsepower.
  • Scrap copper/sealed motors consist of compressor motors from refrigerators and freezers. These motors are also sealed.
  • Scrap copper/aluminum rads are unalloyed copper tubing that is surrounded by cooling fins made of aluminum. They generally come from heat exchange radiators.
  • Copper content scrap contains, by weight, not less than 30% copper. Plating racks, laminated items, irony copper, brittle burnt wires, copper scale, comutators and armatures are generally in this category.
  • Other scrap copper is the final category and includes items and materials not defined by any of the other copper grades.

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