There’s a reason copper is one of the most frequently recycled metals at scrap facilities like Encore Recyclers. It’s pretty much the most valuable per-pound metal that you can frequently find in large quantities. However, it’s a lot easier to find if you know where to look—so here are the top five places to find scrap copper.
1. Construction and Demolition Sites
This might be the best place to find scrap copper—but it’s also the one you most often hear about people stealing copper from. Whenever you see a pile of copper—even if it’s in a Dumpster—be sure to ask the owner’s permission to take it. It’s often best to get them to sign the copper over to you, too.
One of the best ways to easily and legally get scrap copper from construction and demolition sites is to offer yourself up as a haul-away service. This is especially effective when it comes to small construction businesses, who may not have the resources to haul a lot of copper themselves.
That’s where you come in—by offering to haul away their scrap for free or very cheap, you can help a small business while also making some money yourself. You can often get other kind of scrap metal, such as steel, the same way!
2. Home Plumbing and Kitchen Copper
If you’re a plumber or friends with one, or if you’re just doing some simple plumbing replacement around your own home, you’re likely to find a lot of recyclable copper pipes.
In kitchens, there are other big sources of copper beyond just the pipes. Many older homes have copper sinks, and some people have copper pots and pans for special cooking purposes or for decoration. These are all scrappable materials that can add up to a big payday.
Home electronics from stereos to laptops usually have at least a bit of copper wire in them. Pulling out this wire can be very tedious, but it’s often safer and physically easier than dismantling big appliances.
Look out especially for desktop computers and vintage stereo equipment in your own home or for cheap at garage sales. These types of electronics often have a lot of copper.
4. Home Appliances (Especially the Old Ones!)
Washers and dryers, refrigerators, and air conditioners can be excellent sources of copper. Dismantling them can be a challenge, but with the right tools and know-how, the payoff can be well worth the effort.
We have a few articles here on our blog about dismantling certain appliances, and you can also look up most appliance model numbers online for specific instructions.
If you’re working with a refrigerator or air conditioner, be sure to get a properly certified professional to remove the freon. This helps the planet and keeps you safe legally.
If you’re taking an appliance from someone else, it’s also a good idea to get a bill of sale or other document certifying that you got it legally. If you’re replacing your own appliance, a purchase receipt for the new one will also do!
5. Copper Roofing
One of the other great places to find copper is in the form of copper roofing. Copper roofing is becoming more and more popular these days for its environmental friendliness and durability.
Although you won’t find copper roofing for scrap frequently, it can be worth a lot if you do. Just be sure to clean off as much roofing tar as possible to get the most money for your effort!
Also, keep a look out for copper accents such as gutters and decorative features. These, like copper roofing, can get you a lot of metal weight quickly.
What are some of your favorite places to find copper?