Copper Scrap – Understanding Grades

 In Copper Recycling

As one of the most valuable metals, copper has an infinitely recyclable life, whether used or reused in computers, construction, motors, or industrial machinery. Besides, copper scrap collectors and dealers find this metal a great deal, although prices vary due to differences in grades. So, what sets copper grades apart?



#1 insulated wire includes clean, unalloyed, untinned, and uncoated copper wires or cables often insulated with plastic. However, insulation isn’t always stripped, but if there were any, the scrap should resemble a bright and shiny copper wire with 16-gauge thickness.


This copper grade features unalloyed wire, thinner than 16 gauge, and consists of heavy, plastic, or double insulation. It is a standard grade used in most telecommunication wiring and electronics, such as extension codes. Some coatings such as nickel and other degrees of corrosion on the copper wire can meet this classification.


This is the most valuable copper castoff metal among scrap dealers because it is a high-paying grade. Bare bright copper is uncoated, unalloyed, bare wire or cable, no more than 16 gauge in thickness. It is quickly classified as a #1 copper quality scrap if it lacks paint or impurities without copper piping.


#1 Copper is the second most profitable scrap of copper, comprising clippings, bus bars, and wire with at least 1/16th inch diameter. To be categorized as #1 Copper, the wire should be sparkling in appearance, uncoated and unalloyed. Clean copper tubing is an example of # Copper grade as it is free against fittings, paint, solder, and other materials.


This is characterized by miscellaneous, unalloyed wire or solid metal with solder or other coatings such as paint. #2 Copper includes dirty copper metal with a 94-96% copper composition and should be uninsulated and with a 16th-inch diameter.


All in all, recycling centers and scrap dealerships classify copper junk, which determines each category’s price. Having a better understanding of different grades helps you understand how much you’re likely to profit from your recyclable copper metal. For more information, contact Scrap Mart Metals to learn more today at (636) 256-7400.