You can bring in a bit of extra cash by recycling the copper items lying around your home. You can find copper in old electronics and appliances, in excess wiring and scraps from electrical conduit, as well as in some household items and old jewelry.
Know Your Copper Types
When it comes to recycling, copper is divided into different categories. The first division is wire versus solids. Wire is obviously copper wiring, while solids include everything from jewelry pieces and household items to copper pipes. There is also clean copper and contaminated copper. Clean copper is anything that is pure copper, while contaminated copper may have welds containing other materials or rubber wire casings in place. Some places will take clean copper but won't take anything that is contaminated, as they don't have the facilities to clean it.
Weigh the Value of Cleaning
If you have contaminated copper, it is possible to take the time to clean it. This means melting or scraping off old welds, stripping off wire casings, and otherwise removing anything that isn't part of the pure copper piece. This is a very time-consuming task, so it's important to check the prices on both clean and contaminated copper to make sure that the higher selling price is worth the effort of cleaning up the copper.
Consider Object Values
Just because an item is made of copper doesn't mean that recycling is the best value for it. Some objects may have more value if sold in their original form. This is especially true when the object is vintage or antique, such as old copper pitchers or jewelry items. Some designer copper decor and jewelry items may also have more value in the original form as opposed to being sold as scrap. Always check the object value and compare it to the recycling prices that are currently being given in your area.
Take the Time to Separate
You may be able to maximize the value of the copper by pre-sorting it before taking it to the recycler. This means sorting out pipes, wiring, and solid objects, as well as separating the copper into clean and contaminated bundles. A single recycle may provide a higher price for sorted copper, or you may be able to get a higher price by selling different types of copper to different recyclers. This is another reason why it is a good idea to call around.
Contact a local recycling service for more advice about copper recycling.