Salvage. Reclaim. Reuse.

Copper is the most recyclable product Atlas Metal and Iron pays you for!

Get top payment for non-welded copper!

Overall, copper’s recycling value is higher than any other metal.

Copper facts are riveting:

  • 85-90% less energy is required to recycle copper than new processing.
  • 90% of domestic copper comes from just 20 mines in Montana, New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada, and Utah.
  • According to the U.S. Geological Survey, up to 60% of all copper sources come from recycled scrap at U.S. copper and brass mills, excluding wire rod.
  • In 2018, U.S. recyclers recovered 870,000 metric ton of old and new copper scrap, up 1% from 2017.

At Atlas Metal we accept copper from:

  • Insulated and non-insulated wire
  • CATV
  • Radiators
  • Tubing.

You can find copper to bring into Atlas from a lot of common sources:

  • Electrical wiring
  • Roofing
  • Motors
  • Gutters and downspouts
  • Sprinkler systems
  • Plumbing
  • Cookware 
  • Household appliances: Almost all household appliances contain copper wire including refrigerators, stoves and air conditioners.
  • 50% of recycled copper is derived from machine and chip turnings. Manufacturing plants are another great resource where copper can be turned into cash at Atlas Metals.

Copper recycling is gaining momentum. Humankind is becoming increasingly more aware that being green and recycling is kinder to the environment than mining and processing copper ore.

Copper Grade = Cash

The value of recycled copper is dependent on the copper grade:

Bare Bright Copper—The most valuable grade of copper must not be mixed or combined with any other metal including zinc or tin. Bare Bright Copper must not have a tarnish and it must be a minimum of 16 gauge.

#1 Copper—Clean copper tubing must be unalloyed and clean as well as free of paint, solder, or insulation. It can be classified as #1 Copper as long as there’s no corrosion.

#1 Insulated Wire—This grade includes all clean copper cables and wires at a minimum of 16 gauge. You do not have to remove the insulation to qualify at this grade.

#2 Insulated Wire—This includes minimum 16 gauge copper with plastic insulation and unalloyed copper wire. Copper coated with tin or nickel can qualify in some instances if the coating is not extreme.

How Copper is Recycled

Recycling copper wire starts with stripping any coating off the wire. Attachments like nuts and bolts must be removed.

After stripping, the copper is sorted by grade and a quality control inspection ensures that the copper is contaminant free. A granulator shreds the metal, separates thick cables or crushes copper wire into smaller manageable sizes.

The copper is loaded into a furnace, melted into molten metal, and cast into a desired shape. Once cooled, it is fit for a new purpose in a wide range of applications in transportation, construction and electronics.

Copper can be recycled again and again

Copper is one of the few materials that can be recycled repeatedly without loss of performance. There is also no difference in the quality of recycled copper (called secondary production) and freshly mined copper (called primary production), meaning the types of copper can be used interchangeably.

  • Scrap copper is the world's 185th most traded product.
  • Recycling reduces CO2 emissions and energy.

Copper in Use

Copper is used in electrical equipment providing circuitry, wiring and contacts for appliances and consumer electronics.

Copper is used by the transport sector. The high purity copper wire harness system in a train, car or truck carries the current from the battery throughout the vehicle to equipment such as lights, central locking, on-board computers, and satellite navigation systems.

Copper is used in buildings for plumbing, cooling, roofing, and cladding. Copper is light, durable, and maintenance-free.

Copper is used for coins, sculptures, jewelry, musical instruments, cookware, and other consumer goods.

Copper’s Future

7.1 percent of new light vehicles registered in January 2023 were all-electric, according to Experian data. S&P Global reports that by 2025, demand for key battery metals could exceed supply. A battery powered EV requires 2.5 times more copper than a standard internal combustion engine vehicle.

The Future of Copper Report maintains that Net-Zero Emissions cannot be achieved without a significant ramp-up in copper production. It’s not about the supply of copper in the planet, but the urgency of demand. It can take 15 years to get a new copper mine permitted and constructed.

Think of copper as the new rival to oil. Then recycle.