|There are two types of copper scrap: |
Old scrap comes from the public. It is collected from discarded, dismantled or obsolete products at the end of their lives. For example: copper pipes from old buildings, old taps from a bathroom renovation, old hot water cylinders or disused electrical cable.
New scrap comes from factories which make articles from copper, brass or bronze. Their machines will produce offcuts and shavings that can be collected and returned for recycling.
Copper is made with different purities depending on the application. The highest grade copper is electrical grade. It is 99.99% pure and is used for electrical cables because it has the best electrical conductivity. Electrical grade scrap must never be mixed with any of the lower purity grades such as plumbing tube scrap. This contains too much phosphorus which drastically reduces the electrical conductivity.
The lower grades of scrap can be used to make copper alloys or chemicals. The copper sulphate you use in your school laboratory has probably been made with scrap copper.
Brass scrap (such as old taps) must only be used for melting down and making into new brass articles.
(see recycling properties)