Brass vs Copper Boost Your Recycling Knowledge

Whether you’re a metal worker, tradesman or simply interested in recycling, it pays to know the difference between brass and copper. These similar-looking metals are commonly found around the home and workshop, but each has unique properties that determine their variety of uses. In this post, we’ll break down the key distinctions between brass and copper and provide recycling tips.

How To Tell The Difference Between Brass And Copper

When looking at raw brass and copper materials, it can be tricky to distinguish between the two at first glance. Both metals have a golden colour that varies slightly depending on their purity. 

However, upon closer inspection, there are some noticeable differences. Copper has a brighter, richer orange-red tint compared to the yellower gold colour of brass. Brass also tends to look more muted and is slightly harder than pure copper.

When checking stamped items, look for the hallmarks – copper will be marked C, while brass is marked B. Knowing these basic visual and tactile cues can help identify whether you have brass or copper on hand that’s ready for recycling.

Copper vs Brass: Common Uses

Common Uses of Copper

As one of the best-conducting metals, copper sees wide applications in electrical wiring and distribution. You’ll find copper circuitry in most appliances, power tools, and electronics to efficiently transmit energy. Its high corrosion resistance also makes copper preferable for plumbing systems over other metals. Copper water pipes efficiently carry drinking water and waste without leaching harmful chemicals into the supply.

Outdoor copper sheeting commonly used as roofing develops an attractive patina over time that resists weathering. Artisans value copper for its warmth and versatility in sculptures, cookware and ornamental goods. Understanding its prevalence in households and industries helps identify frequently generated copper scrap during renovations or equipment upgrades.

Common Uses of Brass

While less conductive than pure copper, brass combines copper and zinc for enhanced durability at a lower material cost. This makes brass a popular choice for doorknobs, hinges, hardware and musical instruments. Its colouration and tarnish resistance also suit ornamental applications like plaques, statues and wall fixtures.

As mixed metal alloys, brasses’ recyclability and varied compositions support their use in manufacturing plumbing, valves and pressure fittings. Collection and separation of post-consumer brass ensures another lifecycle via refining at recycling facilities. Consumers’ efforts boost circular economies for valued non-ferrous metals like those handled by Metro.

a close up of a brass instrument and copper pipes

Which is More Expensive Brass or Copper?

When it comes to pricing, the relative costs of brass and copper fluctuate based on current market conditions for their raw material components. Generally speaking though, pure copper tends to command a higher price tag than brass.

Copper mining and refining involve more energy due to copper’s physical properties and worldwide demand keeps market values elevated. Copper scrap nevertheless retains resale worth for recycling businesses dealing directly with metal grades like Metro Copper Recycling.

Conversely, brass’s mixed metallurgy incorporates more affordable zinc. While dependent on zinc pricing, brass production often proves less energy-intensive than copper’s. It’s economical qualities pair well with brass’s cost-effectiveness for hardware, valves and other long-lasting goods.

Collectors and fabricators still value high-quality brass that retains spending power through recycling. Overall, considerations like purity, availability and applications influence copper and brass prices at both wholesale and consumer levels.

Are Brass and Copper Good for Recycling?

When it comes to recycling, both brass and copper are highly sought-after commodities that retain much of their value when reprocessed. As non-ferrous metals, they do not retain magnetic properties like steel which makes them readily separable from mixed recyclables using electric currents.

Both metals can also be recycled infinitely without detriment to their quality, an advantage over resources that degrade with each reuse cycle. Brass recycling is favourable since its zinc content allows fabricated brass to be reconstituted with a minimum of 85% recycled brass. Reclamation and refining of copper likewise conserve its ready availability for everything from wiring to coins.

Leaders in metal recycling like Metro exclusively collect copper, brass and other valuable non-ferrous grades to feed clean materials back into domestic manufacturing. With support from households and industry, Australia’s resource recovery rates continue rising for materials instrumental to modern life.

Recycle Your Brass and Copper with Metro

Here at Metro Copper Recycling, we strive to provide a reliable brass and copper recycling service for both commercial and residential customers in Melbourne. Participating in the recycling process is easy: Use our secure drop-off bins or request our team to pick up larger loads. We sort, sort, and process all incoming materials at our state-of-the-art facility. Get in touch with us for Scrap Copper Pick Up Melbourne

Metro pays competitive prices per kg of separated brass and copper scrap based on current London Metal Exchange rates. Payouts are issued promptly to help you maximise the value of your recyclables. Our family-owned business has served the Melbourne area for over 30 years and has a reputation for fair dealing and environmental stewardship.

Give us a call or check our blog to learn more about recycling with Metro. We’ll keep non-ferrous metals like brass and copper out of landfills and preserve economic and natural resources for future generations. Our expertise also lies in recycling a wide range of materials at our Melbourne depot, including scrap copper, brass, cable, aluminium, Scrap Bin, Scrap Wire, Scrap Batteries, and stainless steel. 

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