The best places to find scrap aluminium & copper

Updated February 21, 2017

All metals have a measured value, which means that even scrap metal can be easily recycled and traded for cash. Aluminium and copper are the most commonly recycled metals. This is partially because they usually have favourable values that are dictated by market demand. These metals are also abundant and readily available for anyone who has a keen eye and knows how to spot valuable scrap. Experienced scrappers know that there are some places, particularly in the construction industry, where large amounts of scrap aluminium and copper are easy to come by.

Recycle Heating and Cooling Units

Many homes enjoy the luxury of centralised heating and air conditioning. The units that provide the hot and cold air eventually wear out and need to be replaced, and the companies that replace them have access to a large amount of recyclable material.

The entire outer body of the unit is an aluminium housing with copper pipes circulating through it. After removing all items that are not aluminium and copper, this shell can be recycled as a single piece. There is other copper piping running throughout the unit, which can be removed, along with an electrical wiring harness. Note that the electrical wiring will be worth more if you take the time to remove the insulation.

Natural Gas and Plumbing Pipe

Any home that has natural gas will have an abundance of copper pipe. Some water is also channelled through copper pipes in a home. Eventually these pipes will develop leaks and need to be either repaired or replaced. Sometimes large sections of pipe are replaced by plumbers, creating a significant amount of scrap copper pipe.

Scrap Electrical Wiring

Electrical wiring is a good source of scrap metal, giving electricians an opportunity to cash in on something that others view as excess waste. All electrical jobs produce small amounts of scrap wire when pieces are cut. Although these clippings may seem insignificant on their own, they quickly add up to a sizeable amount of copper.

The ideal situation is to work on a job to repair a home that has been partially burnt. Large amounts of electrical wiring will need to be replaced, which produces a lot of scrap wiring. Most wiring will be made of copper, but older mobile homes will have aluminium wiring. You will be paid more for the wiring if you remove the insulation, although you can still recycle the material with it on.

Door and Window Frames

Many storm windows are constructed with aluminium frames. As older windows get replaced, window installers carry away vast amounts of scrap aluminium. In many cases, the entire frame of the screen door is also made of aluminium. The glass panes can also be recycled, but it is the aluminium that will generate the most money.

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About the Author

Jerry Garner has been writing semi-professionally for more than 15 years. The body of Garner's work includes informative articles, news and current events and historical essays. He is an avid sports fan and frequently writes about outdoor activities online.