Scrap Prices Reaching 8-Year Highs – 1/6/21


2021. Mic Drop.

We hope that everyone had a very nice holiday season and hopefully, you enjoyed some extra holiday cash with the markets up all over the place. With copper prices continuing to rise and topping over 8-year highs we have seen scrap market prices increasing across almost all boards.

With massive purchases of scrap copper and other commodities flying into China, we have seen markets increasing what seems like every other day in the last month and a half. On top of that, we have continued to see aluminum prices climbing and we have seen the pricing for steel markets continuing to jump with another increase of $10-$30 per ton across the board.

If you’re happy with just reading those positive headlines, then you’ll be even happier when you continue to scroll at the other pieces of news that we have.

Quick Numbers

  • 70% – Copper prices up 70% since bottoming out in March 2020.
  • $17,700 – Rhodium prices (used in catalytic converters) hit an all-time record high per ounce. 

Weekly Facebook Group Highlight

Sometimes the simple back-to-basics questions are the ones that we want to pay attention to the most. This week iScrapper Matthew L. asked a question about whether or not his material was bare bright. We have seen numerous threads about people learning about different materials and this is one that is very important both for learning and teaching purposes. 


Non-Ferrous Market News

Copper Up 70% Since March 2020

Copper. Copper. Copper. Let’s talk about the beautiful red elephant in the room that has captured the market and has risen 70% since bottoming out last March. We have seen the demand for copper increasing for multiple reasons, from different mines striking across the world and also the increased need for copper in developing infrastructure for electric vehicles. We see a large climb continuing to happen moving forward into the first quarter.

Aluminum Jumping Too…

On top of that, we have seen the prices of aluminum continuing to increase with prices jumping about $0.15 throughout 2020 and leading into 2021 on average for most materials. Where we go from here looks to be on an upward trend as the markets are continuing to gain steam and hopefully continue to keep the traction.

Now, we turn to lead which has been slightly less out of the commodities rally. While we have seen an increase in battery pricing, it has not been enough overall to cause anything noticeable in the price increase range.

Reported Non-Ferrous Scrap Prices (12/30/20 – 1/05/21):




Akron, OH Brass $1.55 / lb
Rockaway, NJ #1 Bare Bright Copper Wire $3.10 / lb
Nampa, ID THHN Wire $1.50 / lb
Tacoma, WA 304 Stainless Steel $0.46 / lb
Salem, IN Aluminum Cans $0.19 / lb
Las Vegas, NV #1 Copper Tubing $2.70 / lb
Aurora, IL #2 Copper Tubing $2.42 / lb
Arvada, CO Aluminum Copper Radiators $1.25 / lb
Gainesville, GA Lead Batteries $0.25 / lb
Albany, NY Small Electric Motors $0.25 / lb
Kingston, Ontario* Ballasts $0.12 / lb
Vancouver, British Columbia* # 2 Copper Tubing $3.00 / lb

Ferrous Market News

Steel Is Climbing Too

If you were waiting for a massive market rally in steel and knew that it was coming but did not know when . . . you might be on a list of very few people. The markets are surprising many people with the pricing of steel and other ferrous grades continuing to climb. 

With the oil prices increasing, transportation of materials is going to go up and will also lead to multiple market price increases for heavier grades of metal which have been harder to come by recently. One of the other reasons that we have seen scrap steel prices increasing has been the increased pricing on iron ore, which means it’s more expensive to pull it out of the ground than it is to recycle it, and with 70% of the steel in this country being recycled and reused instead of mined, we have seen the prices increase for the first real-time in many years. 

Reported Ferrous Scrap Prices (12/30/20 – 1/05/21):




San Jose, CA Light Iron $165 /ton
Detroit, MI Shreddable Steel $165 /ton
Pinellas Park, FL #1 Steel $7.00 /CW
Bradford, PA Plate & Structural Steel $270 /ton
Rochester, NY Rotors $305 /ton
Topeka, KS Automobiles $165 /ton
Neenah, WI Scrap Iron $150 /ton
Ranson, WV Light Iron $140 /ton
Gosport, IN Shreddable Steel $150 /ton
Cicero, IL Scrap Iron $0.095 /lb
Hartly, DE #1 Unprepared $8.00 /CW

Other Metal Markets

Lead prices have continued to falter affecting both soft lead and car battery prices. This is rumored to be affected because of the overall push to electric vehicles, which has caused some of the price increases on other metals but not in the lead category.

Catalytic Converter Market News



With prices on so many other metals increasing, the catalytic converter market did not want to be left out. With rhodium prices topping all-time highs going over $17,000 an ounce, we have also seen a large rally for platinum and palladium over the last 3 to 5 trading days. What does this mean? It means that these metals are joining the overall increasing commodities rally and we hope to see these sustained long-term. But the problem with any rally is that you’re going to have a decrease at some point and with so much volatility and market disturbances, we don’t know what’s going to happen moving forward.

Overall, we have seen the market for all three metals up about 2 to 3% over the last few days and we have seen an all-time average for catalytic converter prices hitting record highs.

Scrap Catalytic Converter Prices This Week (12/30/20 – 1/05/21):

Cat Type/Serial Number


EA6 $363/@
GD3 $610/@
JSH62 $323 / @
12606389 $334 /@
25130440 $254/ @
Small Foreign $124/ @
Regular Domestic $212/ @


Thank You.

We hope that you were all staying busy and are enjoying these higher prices. Don’t be surprised when you see more part-time scrappers coming out of the woodwork but just know that by tuning into our news every week and receiving our updates on your phones through the app you will always be ahead of the curve.

– Tom

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