Recycling Electric Motors in Austin

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Scrap electric motors are valuable because they contain copper. Copper is found in electric motors because of its relative cheapness — in comparison to other metals like silver — and ability to maintain a relatively low resistance to electrical flow. In other words, its efficiency makes it a good conductor.

However, most electric motors contain other types of metals and materials within the same mechanism. This can make it confusing to determine the value of the scrap content within electric motors, transformers and other copper-bearing materials. Our experts at Gardner Metal Recycling are here to break down the process of how you can recycle electric motors.

Recycling Electric Motors

Electric motors power many types of devices. From microwaves, plane engines,

vacuums, ceiling fans, AC units, computers and more, these complex machines keep our daily lives running smoothly. But what exactly is in a motor? And how is its value determined?

Copper and its derivatives can be found in electric motors. Each item is best evaluated by considering its copper content in relation to other mixed materials. Generally speaking, the majority of electric motors are 90% steel weight, which has a high impact on the item’s pricing. In some cases, the value these items yield is determined by combining their relative copper weight with the weight of the other metal(s) present like stainless steel. 

Electric Motors

Electric motors contain valuable metals like copper, aluminum, steel and iron. The value of the motor is calculated based on the copper content expressed as a weight percentage. Somewhat counterintuitively, smaller motors actually tend to have a higher percentage of copper per weight than heavy motors. Fractional electric motors typically include 9 to 10% copper by weight. The average copper content of AC motors is 7 to 9%, while that of DC motors is 15 to 18%.


Transformers, on the other hand, typically increase in value as size increases. That’s because larger transformers usually contain more copper as a percentage of overall copper compared to small or medium transformers. These machines, which are essentially like static motors, contain a ribbon of wound copper encased by compressed steel blocks or plates. Larger transformers can yield a great deal of copper, and as such, a greater return on its recycling value.

Preparing Electric Motor Scrap for Recycling

If you open a device containing an electric motor, you’ll likely find wound copper wire inside. This process can be tedious and possibly dangerous, so you’ll want to proceed with caution or wait to enlist the help of a scrap metal recycling specialist.

To get to the motor contained in a particular item, you can disassemble it using a screwdriver or drill. Then, check to see if the motor is screwed inside the base of the item. If this is the case, you’ll need to unscrew the motor from the base as well. Finally, you can use wire cutters to help remove the wound copper wire and place it in your scrap pile.

At Gardner Metal Recycling, we can take the motor in its entirety and take care of preparing the metal for recycling. Just bring in the motors and we will offer you a fair market price.

Benefits of Recycling Electric Motors

Almost every component of an electric motor is worth recycling. Most electric motor components, including magnets, cables, and other metal types, are recyclable. With the payoff that copper wiring and steel parts provide, recycling electric motors in Texas can help you save green by going green.

By reducing the amount of waste containing toxic components that goes into landfills, you can offset overhead business costs and environmental pollution. The beauty of metal is that it can be recycled over and over again while still maintaining its structural integrity.

Alternatively, electric motors that are improperly disposed of pose a threat to environmental sustainability. Toxic materials could leak, causing water contamination. Burning or incinerating motors can lead to increased air pollution. Illegally dumping motors can damage natural resources. There’s a chain reaction of hazardous risks that can severely damage the environment. By recycling electric motors, you’re doing your part to help keep Austin beautiful and clean.

How to Recycle Electric Motors?

Electric motors can be prepared for recycling on or offsite. Gardner Metal Recycling offers customizable solutions depending on your recycling needs. Pick-up containers can be scheduled to collect and haul your electric motors back to our recycling facilities. Or, if you would prefer to drop them off directly, we can use our scales to quickly and fairly assess the value of your scrap metal for cash on the spot.

How Gardner Metal Recycling Recycling Serves Austin’s Electric Motor Recycling Needs

We’ve seen our fair share of electric motors from clients for more than 50 years. Our team of scrap metal recycling experts knows their way around these machines and can help break them down to their most valuable scrap metal components.

We offer the support you need throughout the entire process, from a free consultation to a best-price quote estimate. Our new and improved facilities make it easier than ever to process your scrap metal quickly in exchange for competitive pricing and exceptional service. Reach out to one of our scrap metal recycling specialists today online or give us a call at 512-292-1022 to save green by going green when you recycle your electric motors.

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