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Scrap Copper

Copper is quite possibly the most commonly used metal in electronics and in construction. It has been used in and around buildings of all kinds for decades, both in electrical applications and in plumbing (mostly in older structures). Copper is also found in the physical construction of many appliances, and quite often present as wiring. And because it’s found everywhere, volumes of scrap copper are also found everywhere.

If you’re in the scrap business already, then you know how valuable scrap copper can be. You probably understand the ins and outs of the industry, and you know how to capitalize when the market is hot. And if you understand the importance of proper preparation and separation, then you’re ahead of the game – because it all translates into hard cash. Systematic preparation takes more time, but the scrap dealer will pay more for clean, separated scrap.

The price of scrap copper is constantly fluctuating - it depends on the demand for copper, and is invariably influenced by global needs. By example, 2009 prices for scrap copper hovered around the $1.25 range (per pound) and by the end of 2011 the price reached a high of about $3.50 – that’s quite a market! Today, prices are just as impressive, so much so that scrap theft (of copper-laden items) has become an ongoing problem in the industry.

Obviously, prices for scrap copper vary depending on the quality of the scrap, and how well the scrap is separated. Solid copper, like die-cast equipment parts, are very desirable; scrap copper from old generators and electric motors also command a good price; and copper from scrap wire can also be valuable, again depending on purity. Having a good relationship with a scrap yard can assure you of the best prices, and even some good advice.

For current prices per pound, market prices are readily available on the Internet. In fact, your regular scrap dealer may have their own website, displaying pricing for all of the scrap metals that they collect. A good website will also differentiate between the various types of copper, and the different prices for different grades. Your good dealer relationship will also ensure that you are kept up to date on trends and shifts – things that will benefit your bottom line.

Being serious about your scrap business also means being on top of the market. Whether you have copper piping, copper wiring, or copper transformers, you need to know which one is valuable, and when the pricing is hot. You want to get maximum bucks for your scrap copper wire, and stripping the wire, for instance, can be the difference between a good price and a great price. Whether it’s done manually or by machine, the additional work and effort is worthwhile.

With sensitive fluctuations in market prices, getting more money per pound is the motivating factor for every collector. It’s therefore important to deliver scrap copper of the highest quality, while keeping abreast of the ups and downs of the market, and making sound business decisions.

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