Although individual pieces of scrap material can vary, this list of common metal types and sorting guidelines can help you get the most from your scrap material.
Aluminum Cans Cans from soda, pop, beer, etc.; must be relatively clean and dry. If anything other than aluminum cans are found in a container, the container must be resorted before it is purchased.
Aluminum Sheet or Aluminum Extrusion Clean Pure sheets of aluminum typically made to cover some type of building or structure, or aluminum that has been molded. Paint is acceptable, but to be "clean" and get the best pricing, it can't have insulation, screws or other metal trim attached, or have more than 5% of its weight in other materials.
Aluminum Sheet Dirty Same as Aluminum Sheet or Aluminum Extrusion Clean, but contains insulation, screws or other metal trim attached, or has more than 5% of its weight in other materials.
Brass and Copper
Brass Clean Pure brass, with less than 5% non-brass or copper (Copper will not make brass dirty).
Copper #1 Solid copper with no brass or significant corrosion. Most copper tubing and copper pipes are Copper #1 if their fittings are removed and not overly corroded. Thick copper wire with the insulation removed can also be sold as Copper #1.
Copper #2 Copper #2 is solid copper, but it may be mixed with small amount of other metals (up to 5%), is corroded or discolored, or has soldering or brass fittings attached to the pipes. Uninsulated thin copper wiring is also considered Copper #2.
Copper Wire 25% Insulated wires and cables that contain some copper inside.
Copper Wire 45% Thin copper wires with limited insulation, such as power cords and car wiring.
Copper Wire 55% Thick copper wires with limited insulation, most of the weight is copper.
Stainless Steel Clean Pure stainless, not dirty, with less than 5% rubber or other materials.
Stainless Steel Dirty Stainless with other things mixed in (e.g., insulation, iron, rubber)