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  • Writer's pictureA&A Recycling

Unveiling the Secrets to Maximize Your Copper Scrap Value

Updated: Jun 20

mixed copper scrap

In the heart of Cincinnati, OH, A&A Recycling stands as your dependable partner in the scrap recycling journey. With the ever-fluctuating copper market, understanding the nuances between different copper grades can significantly boost your returns. In this post, we will demystify the differences between Bare Bright Copper, # 1 Copper, and # 2 Copper, and share insider tips on how to properly separate these materials to ensure you get the most value from your copper scrap. Let’s dive in!

The Royal Trio: Bare Bright, # 1, and # 2 Copper

Before we get into the thick of things, it's essential to acquaint ourselves with the "royal trio" in the copper recycling industry. These are Bare Bright Copper, # 1 Copper, and # 2 Copper. The value of your scrap material significantly depends on the purity and condition of the copper, and understanding these categories is your first step to maximizing profits.

Bare Bright Copper: The Cream of the Crop

Bare Bright Copper Scrap

Bare Bright Copper is considered the most valuable grade in the copper recycling industry. Recognizable by its shiny, bright metallic color, this type of copper is nearly pure, boasting a purity level of 99% or greater. Generally sourced from new construction scraps, electrical wires, and plumbing scraps, Bare Bright Copper is free from contaminants like paint, oil, and heavy oxidation. Here are some tips to ensure your copper meets the Bare Bright grade:

  • Cleanliness is Key: Ensure your copper is free of any tarnish or oxidation.

  • Source Wisely: Focus on gathering materials from new construction scraps or unused electrical wires.

1 Copper: A Close Second

#1 Copper Scrap

Coming close on the heels of Bare Bright is # 1 Copper. Although it may not have the shiny demeanor of Bare Bright, it is still a high-value material. It possesses a purity level ranging from 96% to 99%, and is often found in clean, unalloyed, and uncoated forms such as tubing, pipes, or wire. To grade your copper as # 1, follow these guidelines:

  • Minimal Contaminants: Your copper can have a slightly tarnished or oxidized surface, but should be free of solder, coating or excessive oxidation.

  • Proper Sourcing: Try to procure uncoated and unalloyed copper materials to fall under this category.

2 Copper: The Valuable Veteran

#2 Copper Scrap

Though not as pure as its counterparts, # 2 Copper still holds considerable value in the recycling market. This category encompasses copper with a purity of about 94% or less and can include tarnished, oxidized, or weathered pieces, often sourced from older construction scraps or roofing copper. Here’s how to ensure your copper falls into this category:

  • Allow for Contaminants: Copper with minor solder, paint, or coatings can qualify as # 2 Copper.

  • Diverse Sources: Look for older construction scraps or roofing copper, which often falls into this category.

Tips to Separate and Maximize Your Copper Scrap Value

Now that we've decoded the differences between the copper grades, here are a few tips to properly separate your material:

  1. Sorting by Appearance: Separate your copper based on brightness and cleanliness.

  2. Removing Contaminants: Increase the value of your # 2 Copper by removing solder, paint, and coatings where possible, potentially elevating it to a # 1 Copper grade.

  3. Seek Expert Advice: When in doubt, consult with experts at A&A Recycling to ensure you are categorizing your copper correctly.

By understanding and implementing these separation techniques, you can significantly enhance the value you derive from your copper scrap.

Partner with A&A Recycling in Cincinnati, OH

At A&A Recycling in Cincinnati, OH, we pride ourselves on offering transparent, honest, and lucrative recycling solutions. With our expertise, you can rest assured that you are getting the most value from your copper scrap.

Ready to take your copper recycling to the next level? Contact A&A Recycling today and let’s forge a greener, more profitable future together!


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