Copper is a reddish-orange transition metal. Copper is pliable, ductile and has excellent electrical and heat conductivity. As a result, the metal is used in a vast range of industrial applications. For a number of years now, demand for copper has outstripped supply, leading to relatively high prices for scrap copper. Copper is traded through a number of international commodities exchanges. Copper quotes made by the recycling industry are mainly based on prices set at the London Metal Exchange (LME).
The recycling industry generally distinguishes between two grades of copper, namely:
- Bare bright copper
- Mixed-grade copper
BARE BRIGHT COPPER
High quality, stripped copper wire. The copper needs to be clean (indeed, it needs to gleam), show no signs of oxidation, grease or tin coating. This category also includes clean copper strips, ingots and cathodes.
The mixed-grade category comprises all other copper items, including tubing and the like. Copper in this category is allowed to be painted, tin-coated or oxidised.