Copper scrap is being bought and sold at a high volume every day, and you may have some lying around your house waiting to make you some extra cash.
Because copper is so commonly used in electronics, the value of copper is growing.
The price for scrap copper at the time of writing is about $3 per pound.
Below, we’ll tell you how and where you can sell scrap copper, plus how to get the highest prices for your scrap copper.
How Much Is Scrap Copper Worth?
Scrap copper can be priced per pound, ton, ounce, and gram.
When you check the going rates for copper, you’ll find varying prices for things like light copper, copper wire, copper radiators, and copper transformer scrap, just to name a few.
Because of the rising global demand for electronics, copper prices have risen considerably over the last ten years.
ScrapMonster has recorded the historical pricing of scrap copper since July 2013. The price of scrap copper at the time of writing is about $3 per pound, depending on your location in the United States.
Copper wire and tubing will sell for around $2.50 per pound. ScrapMonster puts copper radiator scrap prices at about $1.50 per pound at the time of writing.
Depending on your location and the company to which you sell your copper scrap, prices are going to vary.
Scrap Monster provides a price calculator at the bottom of every individual scrap page. However, the best policy for determining scrap price is to call the scrap yards in your area and see which one will offer you the best price.
- Average price per pound (100% pure copper): about $3
- Average price per ounce (100% pure copper): about $0.15
- Average price per ton (100% pure copper): about $6,000
- Average price per gram (100% pure copper): about $0.005
Note: This scrap calculator helps you determine prices based on the type of measurement.
If you have a lot of scrap copper wire to sell, see our research on how much copper wire is worth.
Where to Find Scrap Copper
Finding scrap copper is as easy as looking around your house, especially in your electronics. For example, you can find scrap copper wire in the following items:
- Small devices such as handheld game systems and phones
- DVD players
- Desktop computers
- Monitors and televisions
- Kitchen appliances like blenders, mixers, toasters
- Large appliances like refrigerators, washers, dryers, and dishwashers
- Extension cords
The Selling Process
Find Local Scrap Yards
You can sell your scrap with the iScrap App, which is an app for your phone (that can also be accessed on any browser). The app takes you to a map, which uses your location to find established yards that are close to you.
You can also conduct a quick search by typing in “Scrap Yards Near Me” in your favorite search engine.
Sell Your Scrap Online
RecycleInMe supports the buying and selling of scrap. It is well-established and operates similarly to Craigslist.
How to Make the Most Money Selling Copper
If you want to make money selling copper, look to acquire and sell things with copper in them or things made of copper.
To make the most money, bring in pieces of copper that are mostly or totally made of copper.
For example, bringing in 10 pounds of power cables will certainly make you money, but because their weight is mostly attributed to the insulating plastic, you will make less money than you might if you brought in 10 pounds of raw copper.
Here are some of the most valuable things you can look for when collecting scrap copper:
- TVs and monitors
- Computers and laptops
- VCRs and DVD players
- Refrigerators and freezers (here’s how much a refrigerator compressor worth of copper is worth)
- Washing machines
- Copper pots and pans
- Air conditioning units
- Cell Phones
- Extension cords
- Copper pipes and plumbing items (do not take copper from a house you do not own)
- Pieces of art made of copper or have copper in them
As you may have noticed, none of the aforementioned items are raw copper. Instead, they are considered insulated copper, meaning copper can be extracted from them.
Stripping insulation from copper materials is not recommended because it is a difficult and dangerous task. Plus, most scrap yards will take copper unstripped, but it is possible that they may take it for a lower price.
When you have your pile of copper items collected and ready to go, scope out the nearest scrap yard near you and consult with someone there about prices.
Typically you will bring your load, they will weigh it, and then they pay you and you go on your way. Many places will print off a receipt that can be scanned by one of their machines (which is something like an ATM) which then dispenses your money. It’s usually a quick process.
How to Identify Copper
You will want to be careful about what you bring to your local scrap yard. Other types of metal can be sold, but it’s better to know exactly what you have so you can better estimate the cash you’ll be making from it.
Don’t hesitate to consult an expert at your scrap yard; it’s what they’re there for, and they can usually spot it right away.
If you want to do a bit of the inspection yourself, here are some tips to determine if copper is real:
- Use a magnet. This is perhaps the easiest way to test if it’s truly copper. A magnet won’t stick to solid copper but will stick to other metals covered in a layer of copper.
- Look at the color. It’s usually pretty easy to spot copper due to its reddish color which looks like a new penny. Brass has more of a yellow tint, while bronze has more of a brown tint.
- Check the corrosion. If it’s corroded at all, copper will form a green and/or blue material that resembles rust.
- File it. Take a file and rub through a layer; this way you’ll be able to see if it’s simply plated in copper or if the layers beneath are solid copper.
- Look at the brand. Some pieces of copper (depending on the object they are or from which they came) will have a maker’s mark or brand on them. You can perform a quick Google search based on that to research a bit on the item and its origin.
iScrap App offers several videos on YouTube that can help you identify copper that can be scrapped. The following video takes a look at the differences between various types of scrap copper.