What is scrap copper worth?

Updated March 23, 2017

Contractors are often left with a valuable commodity after completing a job. Scrap copper prices may fluctuate, but recycling scrap metals is almost always financially sound and also helps the environment.

Determine what you are selling.

Copper wire is classified as one of two types: #1 copper wire has no other metal contaminates and #2 copper wire is not "pure." It may have brass connectors, solder and plating.

Scrap value varies by who you are selling to.

You get a better return by cutting out any potential middlemen. Deal directly with the scrap metal processor for the best price. Resellers will pay less.

Look up the cost of copper online.

Raw copper prices are set by the London Metals Exchange (LME). has a daily breakdown of all precious metal prices.

Factor in recycling costs.

The copper processor has business costs and a profit margin. You will always receive less per pound when recycling. A typical rule of thumb is recycled copper is worth half of the price copper is trading for on the LME.


Call several buyers for quotes and negotiate for the best deal. A difference of pennies per scrap pound quickly add up when selling tons of copper.

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About the Author

George Dienhart originally hails from Chicago but is now a resident of Peachtree City, Ga. He is the former Red County editor for Fulton County, and currently writes a weekly newspaper column. He has been writing professionally for more than five years.