Scrap metal recycling is often touted as a great way to earn extra money. All you need to do is scrap your old items, such as household appliances that have outlived their usefulness. However, many people do not realize that with a little more effort they would make a lot more money for their scrap. One of the types of scrap metal that often receives less scrutiny than it should when preparing it for sale to a scrap yard, is copper. That is unfortunate since copper is one of the most abundant and lucrative metals on the market when it comes to scrap metal recycling. If you have scrap copper to recycle you should prepare it properly by cleaning it.
What Is Proper Scrap Metal Copper Cleaning?
Cleaning copper scrap is process that removes contaminants from the metal base. For instance, copper pipe will often have soldered components such as brass attached to it.
You can sell contaminated items for decent money. However, if you cut off the parts that are contaminating the metal, the remaining copper can be placed together in a separate pile. That separate pile of copper scrap will be known as #1 copper. It is worth a little more than contaminated copper, which is known as #2 copper.
Getting the Most Money for Copper Wire
When it comes to insulated copper wire there are two schools of thought. Some will claim that you should always strip insulated wire. Other people will claim that you do not need to do so. Most people agree that burning the wire insulation off of the wire is a bad idea. You may receive a fine if you are caught doing so due to environmental regulations.
Thin wire scrap, such as what you would find in a phone line or cord, will usually be considered #2 copper even if it is stripped. It can be called many things by different scrapyards. Some will call it dirty wire. Others might call it house wire. Many refer to it as insulated wire. Nearly all scrap yards will give the least amount of money possible per pound for insulated wire, regardless of what it is called. However, they are unlikely to pay much more for such tiny pieces of wire even if the insulation is removed.
Thicker wire scrap, such as electrical cords that run from a fuse box to a wall outlet, can be stripped and be rendered into #1 copper in the process. You should strip that sort of wire to maximize your profits. A good rule of thumb is to check the ends of the wire in order to determine two key things.
- If it is made from many tiny pieces of wire wrapped together, there is no need to strip it.
- If it is made from either a small number of twisted wire, or one solid wire, stripping it may be worth the time and effort.
Another item to consider is the total weight. When the insulation is removed from wire cables, the weight can drop considerably. It is a good idea to scrap copper wire if you have at least 100 lbs. of wire. If you have less wire than that, it may not be worth the time and effort.
Final Tips For Earning Money by Selling Copper Scrap
The truth is that prices for wire and copper pipe change on a daily basis. Contacting the local scrap yards in your area is important for maximizing profits. You will be able to determine whether or not you need to strip your wire after determining the difference in the insulated wire price and the #1 copper price and compare it to the total weight of your current load.
Either way, do not burn the insulation from the wire. The scrap yard might not take it at all, and if they do you will still face the possibility of it being considered 'dirty wire.' You would have spent time burning the wire, but still receive the insulated wire price. To learn more, visit Summit Recycling of Penn Hills.