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The Ultimate Guide to Wire Recycling
December 22, 2016

How can I make money wire recycling?

That’s definitely the number one question we get at Alnor Industries.

The answer is pretty simple. Recycle! The first step is to figure out exactly what you have around your house that you no longer need and categorize them appropriately. Some metals are more valuable than others, so knowing this information in advance can save you time sorting materials that won’t earn you top dollar at the plant. There are a bunch of additional factors you should consider when starting this process. In this guide, we want to illuminate some of those options for you so you can make the best decision possible.

So, let’s begin.

Where can I find wire for recycling?

This is a very common question. Wires are often used in making electrical appliances, electrical lines and other conductor oriented joints. As a consequence, their distribution in the wake of recycling is diverse. Start with some old appliances or other small electronics and see what’s available. While items being in poor condition is a legitimate problem for operation, usually you can still receive good value recycling even non-functional components. For a special tip, try joining some free workshops or other electronic learning classes in your area. Many beginners mess up early projects, and so the organizations running these events usually have lots of spare wire available that they don’t know what to do with. If you’re really looking to make big money wire recycling and are willing to put in some personal time, making social connections this way is a great step to acquiring mass amounts of wire. Construction sites that are near completion or local garages are also great locations for acquiring spare scrap wire.

How do I transport large amounts of wire?

The most important tip is to make sure you accumulate as much scrap wire as possible before you travel. At significant volumes, logistics becomes a legitimate concern. One of the most important things early entrepreneurs overlook when starting out with wire recycling is calculating their true profit. While it’s easy to simply look at your receipt from the facility to figure out how much you’ve earned, it’s important to consider your cost of travel in the equation. If you have to drive large amounts of scrap wire in a fuel-heavy pickup truck a long distance to the recycling facility, you are spending a lot of money on gas that directly cuts into your profit. In some cases, I’ve seen new recyclers spend almost 30 dollars in gas to receive maybe 15, or 20 dollars back for their scrap wire. In regards to specific methods of travel; almost anything is viable and has their pro’s and con’s. If you can stomach travelling distances in public transit, cleverly utilizing local transfer systems can save you a lot of money with small repeated trips to the plant.

What can I do with my bare wire?

Around performance, there are arguments as to whether bare wire is better than using a single connector. The greater surface area provided by the bare wire may be more effective overall (as opposed to a single contact area). However, in recycling terms, there is virtually no difference between the two. While it’s easier to transport mass amounts of bare wire (which matters in large-scale recycling), those wires usually shorten over time which results in lower mass for payouts. Our recommendation: recycle it! Continually reusing bare wire for new applications can result in unforeseen circumstances. We recommend simple wire recycling once the initial lifespan of the wire has been completed.

How do you recycle copper?

Copper is one of the most common materials you can find for recycling, and so the value is relatively low. If you are planning on recycling copper, we highly recommend accumulating as much copper as you can before making a trip to the recycling center. The more copper you can bring at once, the more you will save in travel costs and the better you will feel about having made the trip once you see the big money you’ve earned!

Can I make money selling copper?

You can make small amounts of money selling copper you find lying around and collect in your spare time, enough to buy groceries or beer for the weekend. But will you get rich selling copper? Unless you can make connections to factories, warehouses, or other facilities that produce copper in larger quantities – it isn’t likely. Copper is very commonly mixed into other metals and is also commonly used in society so it’s easy to find. This drives the price to a low value, meaning you need large amounts of copper to make large amounts of money. No 1 Copper is worth a large amount, but it’s difficult to find in large enough quantities to make it worth discussing.

How do you recycle aluminum?

Aluminum is a bit different from copper in that the mix of the metal now plays a bigger factor in the price. Mixed low copper aluminum will fetch a different price from cast aluminum or 1-S wire, however it will be very difficult for you as a beginner to identify exactly what kind of aluminum you have. If you can, try taking some pictures and using an online forum or discussion group to help you. If you can figure out the value of your aluminum before you travel, you can potentially save yourself some time if you don’t think you have enough scrap metal for the trip to be financially viable.

Can I make money selling aluminum?

Unknown to many, there is a lot of money in selling aluminum for recycling. However, it takes a trained eye to tell the different types of aluminum apart from each other. If you can learn to spot the most valuable types of aluminum at a glance, you can make smart deals and focus your energy on accumulating the right kind of aluminum. However, this takes both practice and experience and is simply a skill many people are not terribly interested in learning. So if you have a passion for recycling or profit, there is opportunity. But for more casual recyclers, we would first recommend steel or copper recycling.

How do you recycle stainless steel?

For those who are lucky enough to have easy access to steel in disrepair or that has been abandoned, you have a lot of options. Steel is valuable enough to simple recycle it when it’s acquired and because of weight concerns accumulating large amounts isn’t always feasible, so you don’t have to worry so much about travel costs. Basic steel and steel products also often have similar compositions, so you can much more accurately predict your cost levels.

Can I make money selling stainless steel?

Yes! Recycling stainless steel wire or other steel products is very profitable. The difficulty is in consistently acquiring steel to make a profit week over week. For example, at our current prices steel goes for nearly 50 cents a pound. While that may seem low, you would be surprised how much steel content can be found in heavy appliances and other large steel objects.

Where is my local scrap yard?

If you are located in Toronto, we have to be extremely biased and recommend our own facility in Mississauga. As we at Alnor Industries specialize in wire recycling and other scrap metal, we would be happy to answer any questions or take your scrap. If you are located elsewhere, we recommend trying local directories or google maps to find scrap yards in your area. Make sure to check reviews first so you aren’t surprised by any eventualities.