Copper


Copper is 100% recyclable. Virtually all products made from copper can be recycled. 

Whether in a raw state or contained in a finished product, copper is recyclable at all stages of a  product’s life cycle.


When copper is bought for recycling, it is classified by the copper yield.This is the percent of copper in the total weight of the product. Some items will be 99% copper and some can be as low as 1%. The copper yield will be the determining factor in how much the material will be worth. The items with a higher copper yield will be worth the most money.

Common Copper Classifications 

  1. Insulated Copper Wire
  2. Heavy Plate #2 Insulated
  3. Romex
  1. Bare bright Copper Wire
  2. Copper Pipe
  3. MCM Copper Wire

Some common classifications for copper are as follows:


Bare Bright Copper Wire: This is the most valuable type of copper as it has the highest copper yield. It must be bright and shiny copper wire that is free of oxidation, stripped of all insulation, and all other materials. Each strand must be 12 gauge (approximately the diameter of a pencil lead) or thicker.

#1 Copper Pipe: This is the most valuable type of copper pipe. It must be free of solder, paint, insulation, and all other materials. Small amounts of oxidation are acceptable.

#2 Copper Pipe: This category includes many things, though it is labeled “pipe”. Some of the copper included in this category, but not limited to, are copper pipe with solder and/or paint. All copper sheet. Stripped copper wire that is smaller than 12 gauge; and copper wire, pipe or solids that have any type of coating other than copper would be #2 pipe. Solar panels and decorative copper would also fall in this category.

MCM Copper wire: This type of wire must have an 86% copper yield or higher. The most common types of this material are 1/ot – 500 MCM electrical wire.  It does NOT need to be stripped of its insulation.

#1 Insulated Copper Wire: This type of wire must have a 75% copper yield or higher. It must be 14 gauge or larger as a solid strand, or 12 gauge or larger as a stranded wire. It does NOT need to be stripped of its insulation.

Heavy Plate #2 Insulated: This type of wire must have an 80-90% copper yield. It will typically be ¾ in diameter or larger, have multiple strands of copper, and have a silver or lead coating on the copper. It will also have a layer of insulation.

Romex: This type of wire must have a 65% yield or higher. The most common types of this wire are the 12-2, 12-3, 14-2, and 14-3 electrical wiring.

#2 Insulated Copper Wire: This type of wire must have a 50-58% copper yield. The most common types of this wire are Cat 5 and Cat 6 phone wire. The stranded electrical wires that are smaller than 12 gauge will also fall into this category.

Low Grade #2 Insulated Wire: This type of wire must have a 35-45% copper yield. The most common types of this wire are extension and power cords. Many of your common household wires such as sound systems and speaker wiring will also fall into this category. Coaxial cable (the wire used to provide your TV with satellite/cable) is NOT in this category.

Copper/Brass Radiators: These are radiators that are comprised of copper and brass only. They can be classified as “dirty” if the foreign materials such as steel and plastic are not removed.

Copper/Aluminum Radiators: These are radiators that are comprised of copper and aluminum only. They can be classified as “dirty” if the foreign materials such as steel and plastic are not removed.

  1. Insulated Copper Wire
  2. Low Grade Insulated Wire
  3. Copper Radiators

719.636.3559

Family Owned for 100 Years

431 W Colorado Ave, Colorado Springs 80905 Monday - Saturday 8am - 5pm