copper scrap metal

How to scrap copper


Scrapping is the process of collecting metal for recycling, and copper is one of the most valuable types you can collect. In addition to being profitable, scrapping copper is good for the environment. This is because it’s a finite resource and recycling it will ensure it doesn’t get buried in a landfill. Here are the steps to follow for scrapping this metal.


Collect it

If you want to collect copper for scrapping, it’s helpful to know where to find it. Since this metal is an excellent conductor of heat and electricity, it’s often used in electrical wiring, home heating systems and vehicle radiators. Copper can also often be found in household appliances, pots and pans, tubing, pipes, extension cords and Christmas lights.


Sort it

Observe the colour and weight of your scrap copper. The value of this metal varies depending on its grade. The grade of copper is determined by a variety of factors including its appearance, its thickness or gauge and whether or not there are signs of tarnishing or oxidation. The most valuable grade is bare bright copper. This type is unalloyed, uncoated and has a bright and shiny appearance. Other grades include #1 copper tubing, #2 copper tubing, #3 copper (also called roofing copper) and insulated copper wire.


Clean it

Separating copper from other materials increases its value. When it comes to wiring, however, you can choose to scrap it as is or you can strip it. The copper will often be worth more money if you take the time to strip it.


Strip it

The easiest way to strip copper is to use a professional wire stripping machine. However, these machines can be quite expensive. If you don’t own one, you can strip your wire by following these three simple steps:


1. Warm the wires. Do this by leaving the wires out in the sun on a hot day, putting them in the oven at the lowest temperature setting or wrapping them around your hot water pipes. Taking this step will soften the plastic insulation making it easier to remove.


2. Wear gloves. Wire can be sharp so it’s important to wear a good pair of work gloves to protect your hands.


3. Use simple tools. A knife, razor blade or handheld wire strippers can be used to strip away the plastic. Be careful to always cut away from your body.


Sustainable copper recycling in Edmonton

General Recycling Industries is one of the most trusted scrap metal recycling companies in Alberta. We comply with all environmental regulations and best practices, and we’re proud to offer competitive rates for all scrap metals we procure. We buy stripped or insulated copper wire, copper tubing and pipes, radiators and sheet copper. Contact us today to find out the current market rates for your scrap metal.