What we recycle

Copper Recycling

Action Recycling Center pays top prices for all types of copper. Copper is commonly used in the electrical and plumbing trades. Copper is the third leading metal produced after iron and aluminum. Copper usage is rapidly expanding as more and more products are containing computer and electronic components. An example of this is automobiles – 30 years ago a car would contain around 30 to 35 lbs. of copper but this now has increased to well over 50 lbs. on average and some cars may contain as much as 80 lbs. A modern Boeing 727 contains about 9,000 lbs. of copper. Copper is one of the first known metals to be used by man. Many ancient artifacts have been found made of bronze (copper and iron).

Most raw materials have alloys being added to the base metal. Copper on the other hand is more often used in a pure form, more than any other metal. Resistance to corrosion and high conductivity in pure form makes it already suitable for it’s common uses that includes electrical wire, plumbing and heating pipe. Common terms and information in recycling copper are given below.

Bare bright wire is expected to be very clean and pure. This usually will include any 12 gauge solid strand sized wire or larger that has been stripped from it’s shield and is free from tarnish or any other impurities that keeps it from being “bright and shiny” in appearance. Most often MCM stripped wire is the item commonly bought as bare bright but could include other wire that has been stripped also, as defined above.

This is usually copper pipe that has a “new appearance look” without any solder, paint or corrosion visible and no other foreign material. It is ok for this copper pipe to contain small amounts of typical chemical build up inside the pipe as long as the outside still has a new copper appearance. New copper pipe discolored from just being old still may qualify as a #1 copper. Common material would be copper tubing and HVAC line set.

This is copper pipe that contains any solder, paint or visible corrosion. Because this contains solder (lead and tin), this copper is often bought from foundries that make brass since it already has some of the the base elements. Some refineries also refine this into pure copper.

This wire has excellent recovery and usually is very close in price with #2 copper. Common
size is ranged from 100 MCM to 1000 MCM, 100 being the smallest.

There is a wide range of electrical wire that may be classified as #1 insulated. Included is any wire that has strands the size of a 12 gauge solid strand wire or larger and has the defined recycling market recovery. Often 1 through 6 AWG will qualify along with 10 and 12 AWG solid strand wire.

This wire is uncommon but still recycled. This will usually have a recovery similar to #1 insulated and includes MCM like wire that has a tin layer over the copper. There are other less common types of #2 insulated heavy also.

As mentioned with #1 insulated and the wide range of different wire types, there is even a wider range with #2 insulated. Most all wire that has smaller strands than a 12 AWG solid wire or a less defined recovery than #1 insulated will be #2 insulated. This includes but not limited to 8 through 12 AWG stranded and any 14 through 30 AWG wire. Most telecommunication wire will also be placed into #2 insulated such as cat4, cat5, cat6 and other ethernet and standard phone cords. Another example of #2 insulated are most 110 outlet cords and extension cords. There is #2 high, #2 medium and #2 low in this category.

Very common wire used in wiring homes and is considered a mid recovery insulated grade. Often you’ll find the price to be in between that of #1 insulated & #2 insulated wire.

We also purchase copper radiators. These usually are a combination of copper and brass. The copper is the “fins” of the radiator but the rest usually is brass. These are being less commonly used in modern vehicles as aluminum radiator technology seems to be taking over in cooling engines.

This is low recovery copper that includes motors and other electronic devices. Prices are extremely lower than other copper items.

Other less common copper items or their referred terms that we purchase include jelly wire, high voltage, 100 pair, 200 pair, 500 pair, 750 pair, 1000 pair, IDE cable, copper light, 90/10 and others. All types of copper wire is purchased and most other items containing copper.