Last updated on May 8th, 2023 at 11:15 am
Collecting and scrapping metal, or purchasing metal and then reselling it at a higher price, can be a lucrative side or main business.
However, before you start collecting metals such as copper, it’s a good idea to get a feel for the market, the price of copper, and where to sell it.
How much is a pound of copper worth?
Metal prices, including the price of copper, fluctuate constantly depending on what the metal is used for, how much of it is available, and what the demand for that metal is.
Some prices might even vary from region to region, so it’s a good idea to come up with an average price that you’re willing to take or pay for a particular amount of any metal.
On average, in the United States, copper prices fluctuate between $2.00 and $5.00 for a pound of copper. Recent prices, however, average around $4.50 for one pound of copper.
If you’re collecting copper bars or pieces, you may be able to sell those items for full price. However, if you’re collecting copper scrap, such as copper wire, most metal scrapping yards will pay less than the retail price.
This is because, after the scrap yard has purchased the metal, they may have to melt down the metal or form it into a more useful shape.
The scraps yards will then themselves need to sell the metal at a higher price in order to make a profit.
Different Types of Copper Scrap
If you’re looking to collect and resell copper, you’ll most likely want to know the different types of copper scrap available.
Copper solids sell for the most, as they’re made up of pure or nearly pure copper.
Copper wire, tubing, and sheeting are usually considered to be copper solids, as long as they are made of at least 96% pure copper.
Copper wire can fall into the copper solid category if it’s at least 96% pure copper, but other copper wire is often made of copper alloys.
Copper alloy wires can range from 85% copper, which is worth the most, to 10%. If you want to scrap copper wire, it’s a good idea to strip away any insulation first.
If the scrap yard doesn’t have to discard the insulation, they’ll pay more for the wire.
Copper non-solids are items such as copper trimmings or dust. This type of copper isn’t as valuable unless you’ve collected a good deal of it, and most scrap yards won’t take loose trimmings.
Instead, save up any copper trimmings you find and then melt them down yourself at home. You can turn this type of copper into nuggets, which you can then sell.
Copper breakage is another specific type of copper scrap. This is any type of machinery, such as motors or alternators, that has copper winding.
If you want to scrap copper breakage, take the machine apart and separate the copper breakage before selling it.
Copper alloys are the last type of copper scrap you can collect. Usually, copper is mixed with less expensive metals, such as bronze, zinc, or brass.
Scrap alloys aren’t worth as much as pure copper, but they can still be useful and can sell for a few dollars.
Finding a Scrap Yard or Recycler
If you want to scrap your copper, you’ll need to find a reputable scrap yard or recycler. You can search the internet for a local yard, and, if you call, the yard should tell you what prices it is currently offering for different scrap metals.
Prices can vary from place to place, so you may want to get in contact with a few scrap yards before choosing one to sell to.
Some places have fixed rates, while other scrap yards are open to negotiation.