The market price of scrap copper is determined by how much copper is being sold (pounds, tons), geographical location (where the copper is being sold), and copper content once refined (spot price). Online prices are dependent on these variables and only provide an estimate.
Copper is a type of metal that individuals or businesses can sell to scrap yards and can come in the form of wiring, sheeting or piping. Weight is a key determinant in factoring price. Depending on the scrap yard visited, copper is classified into categories such as bright bare or copper #1. It is important to know the differences between these types when shopping for a good payout.
Geographic location has a lot to do with the market price of scrap copper, and it is fair to assume that prices are highest in areas that have the most competition. Rural and less densely populated areas tend to have lower prices compared to scrap yards that compete with refineries for customers.
Current spot metal prices are dependent on how much copper is refined and what it costs the scrap yard to refine the copper. Kitco spot price feeds provide one way to stay abreast of current pricing.