Whether you’re doing it for the environment or a few extra bucks, recycling copper wire is a great idea. Recycled copper is nearly as valuable as newly mined copper. Why? It’s an excellent conductor of electricity.
So, if you have some copper wire on hand that you’re no longer using, you’ll do yourself a favor by preparing it and selling it as scrap metal. Depending on how much wire you have to process, the best method for stripping scrap wire will rely upon. Here are some top tips for stripping scrap copper wire for recycling:
Use the Sun
Many people think the quickest way to get rid of the insulation surrounding copper wire is by burning it. However, this can lower the quality of your copper, making it less desirable, not to mention that it releases toxic fumes and gases into the air.
Instead, set out your wire in the sun for a few hours and let the insulation warm up and soften. Alternatively, put it in a warm oven for a short time. This makes the stripping process more manageable if you’re working by hand.
Use Simple Tools
For small amounts of wire, there’s no reason to buy expensive machines and tools. Instead, use simple hand tools. Even a razor blade can get the job done. If you choose to use a razor, be sure to use gloves! In fact, wearing gloves when working with wire is generally a good idea. Small copper wires can be quite sharp and hurt your fingers while working.
Get A Machine
Processing a few hundred pounds of scrap per month? If so, you may want to invest in a tabletop wire stripper. This type of machine is relatively affordable. There are both powered and manual options. These handy machines can speed up the process of stripping your copper wires.
The Best Copper Wire for Scrap
Some wire is better than others for scrap purposes. Generally, the larger the wire, the better. This is because there’s more copper in the center and it’s also easier to strip these wires. Here’s what you need to know about the different types of copper wires:
500MCM+ Cabling: This wire is easy to remove and will bring you the most cash for your efforts. Typically, this is wire used for heavy duty electricity transport.
Spaghetti Wire: You’re probably the most familiar with this wire. It’s what you’ll find in most electrical components and even in your walls. It’s up to you whether you strip this wire or sell it as is. It will be much more tedious to strip than larger wires.
250-500MCM Cabling: This size wire is also relatively thick and easy to strip. Be sure it isn’t aluminum though as much wire at this size may also be aluminum.
Before you get excited about stripping a bunch of copper wire, make sure you find a reliable scrap dealer where you can sell it. In addition, find out their rates for receiving wire with insulation and without. That way you can decide what is worth your time to strip and which wire isn’t. Just remember, any way you choose to do it, recycling is the way to go! You’ll not only make a few bucks but work towards a better future for our planet.
Ecology has a scrap metal processing center near you! Call today to learn more about our scrap metal recycling program.