SCRAP METAL PRICING
What variables affect the price of Scrap Metal
Recycled metal is in high demand throughout the world. The metal we collect and process in our scrap
recycling centers is recycled into new structural steel for buildings and bridges. Ferrous material is reforged
as new auto frames for the vehicles rolling off the car assembly lines in Detroit and Dearborn, and all over
the country. The non-ferrous metals, like copper, are recycled and smelted into new wiring, new copper
pipe and new electronic components for the products we buy every day.
Metal can be recycled again and again without losing strength or structural integrity. The Steel Recycling
Institute, for example, tells us that recycled steel is highly sought after: more than 69 percent of the steel
discarded in the U.S. each year is collected and recycled. Aluminum is also highly recyclable. The
Aluminum Association says aluminum cans contain 68 percent recycled material.
At our recycling centers in Howell and Ann Arbor, we act as the first link in this global supply chain,
preventing valuable material from polluting our environment in landfills and getting it back into the hands of
manufacturers who are driving our economy. Our new recycling center in Ann Arbor, a 4.5 acre facility and
10,000 square foot warehouse with state-of-the-art equipment, will allow us to collect even more of these
valuable commodities and keep them from the landfill.
Metal prices change constantly – supply and demand from the global market place makes the prices of
copper, iron, aluminum and other metals fluctuate as manufacturers have greater or lesser needs for raw
materials. World events can also have impacts on the prices for ferrous and non-ferrous metals, and
seasonal factors impact the prices, too.
At Regal Recycling, our scrap prices are driven by the price of metals on publicly traded exchanges, like
the COMEX and CME futures markets. That way, when you bring your scrap metals to Regal Recycling,
you can be sure you’re getting the best price possible for your materials.
Scrap prices are also determined by the grade of metal you’re bringing to our recycling center.
Often, cleaning up the metal by removing non-valuable parts or sorting better can result in a much higher
value, both to the seller and to Regal Recycling. The more pure copper, aluminum or nickel contained in
the load of scrap, the higher the value.
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 (materials not made from aluminum that we have to clean and sort), your scrap
will all be priced at the lower “aluminum dirty” price. Sorting and cleaning your scrap metal results in a
higher price to you.
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.
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 too corroded. Copper with thicker than a pencil
lead and with the insulation removed can also be sold as Copper #1.
Solid copper, but can have up to 5% other metal or is significantly corroded and discolored. This can also
have soldering 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 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
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
Stainless Steel Clean
Less than 5% rubber or other materials, not dirty.
Stainless Steel Dirty
May have other things mixed in like insulation, iron, rubber, etc.
Not more than 5% non-brass. Copper is fine and does not make brass dirty.