Understanding Your Local Recycling Program

« Back to Home

How Do You Find Copper Scrap? Here Are 3 Common Sources To Look At

Posted on

When it comes to scrap value, copper has one of the highest. Copper scrap is infinitely reusable, so recycling it is great for the environment – it's much easier to melt down copper than it is to extract it from the earth, which helps save on overall global energy use.

Unfortunately, copper scrap can be rather difficult to find. Copper pipes are the best source of copper, but it's rare for people to throw them out. The next best source of copper is copper wiring – since copper is an amazing conductor, almost all insulated wires you'll find will have copper inside. Where do you find copper wire to recycle? Read on for the three best sources of copper scrap.

1. Appliances

Old appliances are a great source of copper wire. Ovens and water heaters are especially good sources of copper scrap – ovens contain heavy copper wire that can support the high amperage used in an oven and water heaters sometimes contain copper pipes. Once you've removed the copper wire from the appliance, you can scrap the remainder for its value in steel.

One tip for obtaining old appliances is to look for homes undergoing renovation. If there's a contractor renovating a home in your neighborhood, you may want to ask if you can take away the old appliances in order to scrap them. Contractors typically scrap copper pipes themselves, but rarely take the time to scrap appliances – replaced appliances are most often destined for the junkyard. Many contractors will be happy to let you take the old appliances yourself if you offer to haul them away.

One appliance that's not worth scrapping, however, is a refrigerator. Refrigerators need to be emptied of their refrigerant before you can take them to a scrapyard, and only a certified HVAC technician is allowed to legally do this. Many scrapyards require you to provide paperwork from the technician to make sure you didn't remove the refrigerant yourself. Paying an HVAC technician to drain the refrigerant is more costly than a refrigerator is worth in scrap value, so refrigerators are not worth picking up.

2. Electronics

Electronics are also a good source of copper wiring. In addition to the power cord, there are often numerous small copper wires inside electronics. People often throw out old electronics when they stop working, so you can often find them on the side of the road or in dumpsters. Unfortunately, copper is typically the only valuable thing inside electronics – most have plastic cases that aren't worth anything to a scrapyard.

3. Computers

When it comes to electronics, computers are an especially good source of copper scrap. Power supplies often have numerous heavy copper wires inside them. Once you've stripped the computer of its copper wiring, you can recycle the case. Many computer cases are made of aluminum, which is another valuable source of scrap. Keep an eye out for people throwing away their old computers – they're worth disassembling in order to scrap them.

Once you've collected a substantial amount of copper wiring, it's a good idea to call all of the local scrapyards in the area to find out who pays the best prices for copper scrap. Since copper is such a valuable scrap metal, it's worth driving a little farther to a scrapyard that gives you a good deal instead of dropping your wires off at the closest one.

Get in touch with a company like Dabal & Sons Inc for more information.