Copper Gains $0.20 In A Week – 4/21/21


Out of Scrap?

Are those words part of your nightmares? It would certainly make us upset if someone told us that there was no more scrap. Fortunately, that is not the case, as we have been talking to many people that have been busier than ever, scrapping out old trailers and starting large demolition projects. We would love to hear the stories about what you’re doing on a day-to-day basis, so feel free to reach out through our contact form to be featured in one of our upcoming podcasts.

The markets have been reacting relatively positively, even with some jumps in the copper market over the last week. We’ve actually seen copper gain about $0.18 over the last five trading days, which was extremely surprising. It seems that the Chinese came back into the marketplace to buy a couple of large blocks of copper, which is one of the things that we’re looking for throughout 2021. If the Chinese continue to buy large amounts of copper, there’s a prediction that at some point later this year, or the middle Of 2022, that we could see a slump in the markets.

Earth Day  ???? ????

Tomorrow, April 22, is Earth Day, a day worth celebrating as a scrapper. Metal scrapping isn’t only good for your pockets but is SO important to the environment, and to prove it, just take a look at those quick numbers below. So a big round of applause to all of you for both making money and saving the planet at the same time ????

Quick Numbers

  • 1 ton – Recycling one ton of steel alone conserves 2,500 lbs. of iron ore, 1,400 lbs. of coal, and 120 lbs. of limestone.
  • 60 days Aluminum cans can be recycled and the materials can be put back on the shelf within 60 days.
  • $1,260/thousand board ft. – Yesterday, lumber futures hit an all-time high on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange–$1,260 per thousand board feet.

Weekly Facebook Group Highlight

Let’s start out this section with a little laugh. Thank you Adam, keep em’ comin’. If anyone else has some funny scrap content, PLEASE, for all our enjoyment, share it in the group.

Last week, we also asked scrappers to share their favorite scrap memories. Check out some of the feel-good stories here. Based on the comments, it seems that a lot of these memorable moments were from sharing the joy of scrapping with others. We’d love to know, is scrapping a hobby that bonds you with others? Is it something that you hope to pass down in your own family? Let us know in the comments on that post ????


Featured Question

Question: “I have access to a few starters/alternators per month. Is it worth breaking them down for the Cu/Al? How much Cu can you expect from a standard starter or alternator?”

Tom: On average, small electric motors/alternators/starters all have between 11-17% copper windings inside of them. If they are aluminum windings, then it breaks down to 8-14%. We suggest weighing a motor and doing the math. Example: 100-pound motor x 15%= 15 pounds of #2 copper at a price of $2.50 per lb. = $37.50 worth of copper plus the steel value. 

Non-Ferrous Market News

With copper leading the way over the last week, with gains of $0.20 per pound, we have seen all reported prices jumping. More importantly, we continue to see the aluminum market gaining steam and momentum moving forward. With more manufacturers of technology and automobiles, as well as hundreds of other products beast from aluminum getting busier, we have seen the market picking up. Some of the prices for sheet aluminum have gone over $0.50-$0.55 per pound as higher grades of metal, such as siding, stripped aluminum wire, and car wheels, have gained $0.10 per pound over the last month.

One market that has lagged behind has been stainless steel in the nickel market, with prices down about $0.04 per pound over the last month. These price drops can largely be looked at as a regular thing within the high-temperature industry, such as aviation not having as quick of a comeback as would be needed. One place that nickel has high hopes is in the battery market moving forward. Many people have talked about using nickel sheets inside of their rechargeable batteries. 

Reported Non-Ferrous Scrap Prices (4/14 – 4/20):




Dry Ridge, Kentucky Aluminum Rims  $0.45 / lb
Rockaway, NJ #1 Bare Bright Copper Wire $3.65 / lb
Tyler, TX Brass $2.12 / lb
Cropwell, AL Lead $0.20 / lb
Bastrop, LA #2/3 Mix Copper $2.75 / lb
York, PA Aluminum Siding $0.35 / lb
Mauston, WI Electric Motors (Copper) $0.23/ lb
Gasport, IN #1 Copper Tubing  $3.00 / lb
Hebron, OH Computer Wire $0.80/ lb
Philadelphia, PA Sm. Copper Transformer $0.40/ lb
Austin, MN Aluminum Cans $0.45 / lb
Victoria, British Columbia* #2 Copper Tubing $4.10 / lb

Ferrous Market News

With the steel markets down about $12 per ton across the board during the month of April, we still don’t have too much of a concern. Not every market can have extreme growth and sometimes the world economy has a bigger impact on these pricing points. Don’t forget that the United States has millions of people getting vaccinated and cases going down while many areas in the world are having large outbreaks of Covid cases, which is slowing down their own economic recovery.

The steel market could be back-and-forth throughout the summer, especially depending on the speed of returning back to “normal” (or whatever the new normal will be). Some countries, like India and Turkey, are moving slowly towards this goal.

Reported Ferrous Scrap Prices (4/14 – 4/20):




San Antonio, TX Light Iron $0.06 / lb
Peoria, IL Rotors $190 / ton
St. Cloud, MN Complete Car $120/ ton
Albuquerque, NM #2 Heavy Melting Steel $145 / ton
Waterloo, NY Tin $0.06 / lb
Tempe, AR Shreddable Steel $135 / ton
Salisbury, NC Automobiles $0.08/ lb
Jacksonville, FL Cast Iron $9.50 / CWT
Independence, KS #1 Prepared $165 / NT
Winnipeg, Manitoba* Steel/Tin/Cast $235 / ton
North Bay, Ontario* #1 Heavy Melting  $275 / ton

Other Metal Markets

One of the craziest turnarounds that we have seen over the last few years has been in the lead-acid battery market. With so many cars and car manufacturers turning to electric vehicles, there has been a real decline in the auto battery recycling market. A few years ago, the reported prices were between $0.40 and $0.55 per pound and today that number is cut in half. These prices don’t seem to be recovering any time soon, as we have spoken with two of the largest battery manufacturers in the country and they are predicting a downturn in their markets for regular lead acid car and truck batteries. This could lead to long-term price declines in the market until lead has another widespread use, like it has for the last 70 years in the car market.

Catalytic Converter Market News



Catalytic converter prices have come down slightly as the markets have turned and demand has flatlined a bit. While the markets are down this week, they are NOT down by much and are only 2-3% off of the all-time average cat price highs that we saw just a few weeks ago. The team at has been able to watch these markets and we have seen positive signs for most of the segments. 

Now we want to spotlight a video that we made recently to show you how to learn about Mazda catalytic converters. Let us know not only what you think, but send us pictures of Mazda (and other) cats that you may need a quote for at

Scrap Catalytic Converter Prices This Week (4/14 – 4/20):

Cat Type/Serial Number


EA6 $500/@
GD3 $900/@
JSH62 $489/ @
12606389 $449 /@
25130440 $382/ @
Small Foreign $149/ @
Regular Domestic $232/ @


Thank You.

With the markets on such a strong tear, we really are happy with how and where they are going. Copper has continued to strengthen and these markets seem to be gaining steam. Many economists are talking about the markets continuing to climb throughout all of 2021….so get ready for a whirlwind. 

– Tom

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