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Scrap Yards: Your Sources of Copper Scrap

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by - 3/29/2021 14109 Views

The Price of Copper is at a high peak currently. Here is a list of Sources for Copper Scrap


What is Copper Scrap?

Copper Scrap is generated during metal product fabrication or when a copper-containing product reaches its end of life. Copper scrap material is also known as secondary copper. There are two types of copper scrap: new scrap and old scrap. New scrap is generated during the initial manufacturing process. Old scrap is collected after a consumer cycle, either separately or mixed, and it is often contaminated to a certain degree, depending highly on origin and collection systems. Old scrap is a vast potential source of recyclable copper. 

Copper scrap or Old Scrap refers to copper wire, copper tubing, roofing copper, or copper pipe from post-consumer products converted to refined metal and alloys. Here are some of the familiar places to find Copper Scrap.

Why is Copper in High Demand?

At present, the demand for copper is increasing. Numerous enduring developments are currently advancing the growth of copper. This includes increased electronics usage, extensive approval of electric vehicles (EVs), enlarged use of renewable energy sources, and energy efficiency. Among all the metals utilized in power generation, transmission, storage, and consumption, copper remains the mutual denominator. So copper is in great demand for its usage.

The Current Rate of Copper

The Copper futures are widely traded on the London Metal Exchange (LME), at the COMEX and the Multi-Commodity Exchange in India. Presently, the copper prices have touched an almost 10-year high. According to the LME records, the present copper rate is $ 8,929 per metric ton in the LME market.

The MCX Copper rates in India, the Year to Date price of Copper touched a high of 735.35 and a low of 588.2 INR. The Year to Date average price of Copper is 649.13. In MCX, the price of copper touched a month high of 716.75 (March 21) and a low of 665.75 INR. The monthly average price of copper for March is 681.21.

 In COMEX Metal Exchange, the price of copper touched a month high of 4.208 and a low of 3.9535. The monthly average price of copper is 4.0898. The Year to Date price of Copper touched a high of 4.3215 and a low of 3.514. The Year to Date average price of Copper is 3.8524.

Best Sources for Copper Scrap

Electrical Contractors

Copper wiring is used in electrical appliances like Power distribution at home, Telecommunications, Air conditioners, Kitchen appliances, etc. Electrical Contractors use Copper wiring in large amounts. So excess Copper wires can be collected from Electrical Contractors and can be recycled. Electrical appliances that have Insulated Copper Wires come under ISRI Code DRUID or DROID, Insulated Copper Wire.

HVAC Contractors and Plumbers

Copper pipes are commonly used in the construction industry for water supply lines and refrigerant lines in HVAC (heating, cooling, and air-conditioning) systems. HVAC contractors and plumbers use Copper Tubing in significant amounts. It is a great source to collect the excess Copper tubing’s from HVAC Contractors, and we can sell it in recycling plants.

Copper tube is found in many products and services:  home heating (traditional and radiant), Fuel gas (natural gas and LP gas) distribution, refrigerant line, medical gases, solar energy systems, fire sprinklers, and air conditioning systems. All these kind of copper tubing comes in the category of ISRI Code CANDY or CLIFF Copper Scrap.

Electric Rewinders

A rewind shop is a place where we can find a lot of older electric motors from AC/HVAC units or other units. Enameled winding wire is a film insulated copper used in the form of coil winding in motors. Motors, Transformers, Generators contain significant quantities of Copper. The copper windings are the most valuable in the scrap motors. If we dismantle the older Electric motors, we can find copper wires. So we can collect old motors from rewinding shops, and can recycle them for money. The Copper wire, enameled in the old motors is slightly burnt. This kind of copper wire comes under the category of ISRI Code BIRCH, No.2 Copper Wire.

Auto Parts

Automobiles and trucks contain a substantial amount of copper (around 1.5%). Copper and copper alloys are also used in trains, ships, and airplanes. The wire harness, starter motor, alternator, radiator, and brake tubes all have copper in them. It's hard to think of a vehicle that does not use copper. Car starters and alternators are the best sources of scrap copper. In the Auto parts Workshop, we can find an extensive amount of old starter motor, radiator, and brake tubes, etc. One can collect copper scrap in an Auto yard and sell them in recycling plants.

End-of-Life Vehicles

The copper in End-of-Life Vehicles consists primarily of Copper wiring, electric motors, and the wiring ‘harness’ that connects the lights and motors. We can collect copper Scrap from ELV and sell it to recycling plants.

Shooting Ranges

Shooting ranges are a great source to collect valuable brass scrap. In a Private or Public shooting range, one can gather brass shells and sell them to recycling plants. Many people do not collect the brass casings from their ammunition when they go shooting in Shooting Ranges. We can make use of that chance and collect those brass shell casings. We can also collect Brass shell casings in rifle, pistol, shotgun, and machine-gun

Government Auction

In Government Tenders, various kinds of Copper Scraps are auctioned. The government sectors such as TANGEDCO, Central Railway, Power Plant, Municipal Corporations and PWD, Railway Transport Services, Security Services, etc. Copper Scraps from these sectors are auctioned for recycling. Government Tender is one of the best sources to collect Copper Scrap.

Municipal Solid Waste

Municipal solid waste is a complex mixture of many materials discarded by every individual, business, government, and industry. Municipal solid waste is the most challenging waste stream to process and contains a minimal amount of copper. It is also one of the sources to collect Copper Scrap for recycling.

Construction and Demolition Sites

In Construction and demolition sites, we can find lots of Copper Scrap waste includes Copper from the wiring of buildings, pipes and fittings from the plumbing, and brass from door handles and frames, etc. The current high price of copper encourages copper recovery from buildings and Demolition sites. The most common Copper Scrap found in Construction and Demolition Sites are:

  • Electrical Wire ( ISRI Code BARLEY or BERRY, No.1 Copper Wire)

  • HVAC Components ( ISRI Code CANDY or CLIFF, Copper Solids and Tubings)

  • Insulated Copper Wire ( ISRI Code DRUID or DROID)

  • Sheet copper, Gutters, Downspouts, Roofing ( ISRI Code DREAM, Light Copper)

  • Valves, Machinery Parts( ISRI Code EBONY, Red Brass)

  • Old Motors, Generators ( ISRI Code BIRCH, Copper Wire )

Copper Manufacturing Companies

Numerous Copper Manufacturing companies specialize in processing copper wire scrap, including insulated copper wire, compressors, radiators, and electric motors. After recycling Copper Wire Scrap, Pure Clove copper wire nodules are obtained. Copper Wire Nodules come under ISRI Code CLOVE, COBRA, COCOA, No.1 Copper Wire Nodules. Copper Wire Nodules are the by-products of a shredding or chopping operation of Copper Wire Scrap.

Cable Strippers or Wire Granulation Systems are used to generate clean copper wire nodules. The scrap Copper wires are first chopped into small pieces. The insulation can be mechanically removed from the Copper wire. The end product, thus obtained, will be a clean copper wire nodule. In Copper manufacturing companies, we can collect Scrap Copper and Copper Wire Nodules.

Smelting and Refining of Copper

Copper slag or ashes is a by-product obtained during the smelting and refining of copper. The waste copper slag can be recycled and used as abrasive tools, road construction, and ballast. Copper residues and grindings are the by-products or leftover materials obtained from Copper producing companies. In the Smelting and refining process of Copper, we can collect copper slag, ashes, and copper residues and recycle them. This Kind of Copper Scrap comes under ISRI Code DROVE, Copper Bearing Scrap.

Copper in Domestic Appliances

Copper wire is used in electrical appliances like Electric Cookers, Washing Machines, Televisions, Refrigerators, Old Telephones, and Lighting Wiring.  Ceiling fans, standing fans, and electrical appliances with a motor usually have quite a lot of copper wire. If we dismantle all these electrical appliances, we can find copper wires. Electrical appliances that have Insulated Copper Wires are mentioned below.

  • TVs and Monitors

Almost all Computer Monitors and the TV screen are a source of Insulated Copper wires. If we snip off the Insulation, we can find Copper Wires.


  • Large Appliances

Large appliances such as Refrigerators, Freezers, Dryers, Washer Machines, Dish Washers, and Ovens often have a thicker insulated wire.

  • Small Electronics

Small Electronics such as Coffee Makers, AC Units, Fans, Blenders, and Toasters are a great source of insulated copper wires inside and outside. Even our Mobile charger has insulated Copper wire.

We can gather all these Copper wire and Insulated Copper wires from our household appliances and sell them in recycling plants to get a considerable amount for our Copper Scrap. These Copper wires come under ISRI Code BARLEY or Bare Bright Copper Wire and BERRY, No.1 Copper Wire.


Copper is one of the most sought out materials in the scrap metal Industry. It is used in a wide variety of things like plumbing, electrical components, construction, decorative design, and more.  Copper Scrap is one of the most valuable recyclable wastes. Scrap copper sells for high prices since it can be reused and re-purposed without altering the metal’s quality. Around 80 percent of all copper used today is recycled and re-purposed.  So we can collect Copper Scraps from the sources above and sell them in Recycling Plants.

Category : Copper

Tags : Copper Scrap, Sources of Copper Scrap

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About Jenisha Rajakumar

I'M a Research Analyst and Content Creator at RIM. Currently I'm researching on Copper Prices around the Globe and the impacts on Copper Scrap Prices with regard to COMEX, LME, SHFE and MCX. .... more info


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