The economic viability of recycling scrap metal and other materials has definitely encouraged a lot of people to recycle both ferrous and non-ferrous metals as well as cables and insulated scrap wires. More recently, electronic waste or e-waste has become one of the most common items seen in recycling shops and junk yards. Steel is one of the most recycled metals in the world but purveyors accept other metals as well including copper wires. Through wire recycling, you will be able to get hold of copper which is a 100% recyclable material; however, there are other sources of copper scrap like electrical items, computers and cars.
Sorting out copper through wire recycling
- Gather all your leftover electrical wirings and strip it using wire strippers. Discard the insulations but do not burn it since it is against state regulations. However, there are wire recycling purveyors that will accept wire with its insulation though for a lower price.
- If you do not have the wire strippers, you can still perform wire recycling by using a razor or a sharp knife. Place one end of the wire into a vice and strip away the outer insulation like you were peeling a carrot. If you accidentally cut the wire, it is no big deal since your recycled wires are actually cut to pieces.
- Segregate copper tubing from air conditioners and buildings and remove any brass fittings. While brass is also a recyclable metal, you will be offered a lower price by wire recycling purveyors if the copper tubing has the brass fittings attached as they need to pay for its handling and removal.
- Water heaters tend to have copper in their tanks but you should remove any attached insulations, covers and fittings from the tank so as to gain a good price for your scrap copper.
- Take your stripped wires to the wire recycling purveyors but make sure you have an identification card since authorities don’t take too kindly to copper wire theft.
Is it worth your efforts to venture into wire recycling?
The price of copper wire is volatile because it depends upon the basic principles of economics where more supply than demand will mean low prices and more demand than supply means higher prices. Supply comes from wire recycling and production from copper mines while demand comes from electrical, telecommunications, electronics and plumbing industries. Copper is widely used particularly in developed countries where most of today’s electronic devices are manufactured. Prices also tend to go up when housing and automotive industries gear up for the peak seasons. Spring and summer almost always sees peak production so it follows that you have to sell your copper to enjoy the best values.
However, more than the financial benefits gained from wire recycling are the benefits to the environment. Recycling reduces the amount of solid waste in the landfills. Wire recycling also reduces the greenhouse gas emissions from mining and smelting to produce new copper. The more that people are encouraged to do wire recycling, the less is the need for copper mining.