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What has the most copper in it to scrap?

  Friday, 15 September 2023

Copper is the most sought-after of scrap metals, and probably the metal you are most likely to find around the house. There are a wide range of applications and equipment that make use of copper.

But which ones use the most copper and what is the most valuable type of copper?

Copper pipe joints interconnected

Why is copper in such high demand?

Copper is highly prized as a base material because it is non-ferrous (not magnetic) and incredibly versatile and conductive. Pure copper is used in all kinds of electromagnetic applications, so is important to the telecommunication, electrical and engineering industries. Copper is very malleable, and can be hammered into sheets, stretched into wires or formed to make tubing.

As the price of mining new copper is expensive, recycled copper is essential to meet global demand. That is why it is always in demand at scrap metal yards. Pure copper has an ability to withstand temperatures of up to 100°C and is graded into the categories of ‘bare bright copper’, #1 or #2. Bare bright copper is the most valuable – uncoated, unalloyed wire no thinner than 16 gauge.

Most copper can also be recycled without any loss to its quality.

What items contain the most copper?

You won’t have to go far to find items containing good quality copper.

Cable and wire

The copper wire in household cables attached to computers, TVs and Hi-Fi’s, or inside the devices themselves, can all be collected. Phone chargers, old modems, telephones, all contain copper wire to harvest. You will need a lot of it to get a scrap yard interested, but before taking that old device to the dump, de-copper it!

Household plumbing

If you’ve had some work done in a bathroom or kitchen, chances are there are some off-cut copper pipes or cylinders left behind. If the tradesmen don’t want them, you do! Most water and gas pipes are made of pure copper. Copper pipes are easy to sort and deliver to a scrap yard.

Household appliances

Washing machines, dishwashers, tumbler dryers, freezers and refrigerators all have lots of copper in them, from coils to internal wires and components to circuit boards. This is why you are encouraged to take them to recycling centres. However, if you can do so safely, you could extract the copper from these appliances yourself. 

Kitchen equipment

Pots and pans made from copper are very much at the high end of kitchen equipment. That is because copper heats up and cools down quickly and distributes heat more evenly. If you don’t have any copper pots and pans yourself, keep a look out for them in house clearances and antique shops. There is plenty of copper in each item.

Sell your copper at ASM

We can help you get a competitive price for your scrap copper. As well as being able to receive your scrap at our yards, we also offer a collection service for businesses and individuals with large amounts of metal.

Find out more about scrap metal recycling and get a valuation today.

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