Oct27
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Scrap Metal Descriptions

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Recycle USA, Inc. feels that a better informed customer will be a better long term customer. We want to help you understand what your metal is and what it is worth. Often, cleaning up the metal by removing non-valuable parts or sorting better can result in a much higher value to you and us. We sell all of our scrap metal to large or national metal processors who use standard industry grades and volumes for buying. The value of scrap metal comes from the type and quality of the metal. The more pure copper, aluminum or nickel that scrap metal has, the more valuable it is.

Mixed scrap metal is always priced at the lowest price metal. If you have a bucket of aluminum sheet with some clean and some dirty (with screws or insulation) it will all be priced at the lower aluminum dirty price because that is the price we can wholesale it at. Sorting and cleaning your scrap metal may be worth the extra time.

Below is a list of common types of scrap metal and the general guidelines for sorting. Please keep in mind that these are guidelines and individual pieces of scrap metal may be different.

Copper #1

Solid copper that has no brass or significant corrosion. Most copper tubing and copper pipes are Copper #1 if they fittings are already removed and they are not corroded. Copper wire thicker than a pencil lead and with the insulation removed can also be sold as Copper #1.

Copper #2

Solid copper, but can have up to 5% other metal or is significantly corroded and discolored. This can also have sodering on the pipes. Copper pipes with the brass fittings still attached are considered Copper #2. Copper with that is not insulated but thinner than a pencil lead is also considered Copper #2.

Aluminum Cans

(our most popular scrap metal). Aluminum cans from soda, pop, beer, etc.. No steel cans are allowed. Cans must be relatively clean and dry. If anything other than aluminum cans are found in a container, the container must be resorted by the customer before it is purchased.

Aluminum Sheet Clean

Pure sheets of aluminum usually made to cover something like a house or structure. Paint is fine, but it can’t have insulation, screws or other metal trim attached to be “clean”. If more than 5% by weight of the scrap is not aluminum sheet than it is considered “dirty”.

Aluminum Sheet Dirty

Same as above, but is more than 5% by weight not aluminum. Corrosion, screws, and other metal attached will make it “dirty”.

Aluminum Extrusion Clean

Common kind of aluminum that was manufactured by being pressed through a mold. Small lines are visible on the aluminum that has been made in this way. Clean has less than 5% other metal, dirt, insulation, rubber, plastic, etc.

Aluminum Extrusion Dirty

Same as above, but has other metal attached or is significantly corroded.

Copper Wire 25% Copper

Computer cables, heavy insulation wires. Copper wire is valued by the amount of copper in it. This is the lowest grade with the least amount of copper.

Copper Wire 45% Copper

Copper inside is thinner than a pencil lead and there isn’t too much insulation. Examples are power cords, car wiring harnesses.

Copper Wire 55% Copper

Copper inside is thicker than a pencil lead, but there is still insulation on it. Most of the weight is copper at this level.

Stainless Steel Clean

Less than 5% rubber or other materials, not dirty.

Stainless Steel Dirty

May have other things mixed in like installation, iron, rubber, etc.

Brass Clean

Not more than 5% non-brass. Copper is fine and does not make brass dirty.

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