miles of old copper wire

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Greetings,
I have miles of old copper wire. I have always thrown it away in the past. What is the proper procedure for recycling it? Is recycling worth it?
Thank you for your time and energy, William
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Why not start your own cable TV company?
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" snipped-for-privacy@wdeans.com" wrote:

Depends on the local recylers/used-metal dealers as to whether there's any real market or not--also what kind of wire makes a big difference. If it's large diameter cable, it'll be fairly valuable while Romex may be nearly worthless as is.
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Duane Bozarth wrote:

Not that the copper isn't valuable, just there may be no market locally for it as it is a bulky material that is a pita to handle/process so the collection and transportation costs can make it such that the local scrap dealer may not want to mess w/ it...
In this area there are literally miles of old oilfield cable from 7/8" to 1-1/2" w/ a major fraction being >1". This isn't worth hauling to the recyclers unless it's cut to lengths of 30" or less so the drilling companies don't bother as the labor/effort for them is more than the return. There have been a couple of guys who built an automated cutter system who were reclaiming it, but even w/ no charge for the material they seem to have given up the enterprise...the problem is bulky material is just not very valuable as recycle input unfortunately.
For an individual it may be a little spending money now and then if you have the time/inclination to mess w/ it. Seems a waste, granted... :(
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Prices vary as a commodity, but yes, scrap dealer will buy it. Worth much more if you remove the insulation.
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"I have miles of old copper wire. I have always thrown it away in the past. What is the proper procedure for recycling it? Is recycling worth it? "
LOL We have hoodlums out ripping copper wire off utility services and stripping copper pipe from unoccupied buildings. Gee, do you think the local scrap yard might pay for it?
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snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net wrote:

Greetings,
The wire is mainly 12 and 14 awg Romex, knob and tube, or mineral insulated. It is not high value copper pipe drain pipe or 250 kcmil SE cable.
William
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The copper in the Romex and K&T should be pretty good with minimum NEMA, ANSI or some such standards. Even better (in terms of copper purity) than copper pipes as it needed to meet some minimum conductivity standard. 12 AWG Romex and 250 MCM copper should be about the same quality which means it has the same current density about 1,000A per sq. in. - i.e., same purity unless if I'm mistaken.
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Fred wrote:

It's not that the copper isn't as high as much else, it's that the recyclers won't pay anything owing to the insulation--the "value" here is the salvage value.
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On Wed, 17 Aug 2005 21:23:23 -0500, Duane Bozarth

The scrap yard I go to WILL take wire with insulation. The price may be lower but they will take it. Many yards now have ways to remove the insulation. Prices in early june for copper wire (no insulation) were around 95 cents per pound.
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J Kelly wrote:

They'll take it here but I meant "anything" in the sense of "anything approaching enough to make it worth hauling in"....I'd be surprised if the prices for small Romex/cloth insulated would be more than 1/4-th of that.
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Edwin Pawlowski wrote:

Greetings,
What is the proper procedure for removing the insulation? Can you burn it off in a barrel in the back yard? Do you need to add other ingredients to support combustion? Do you need to wash it clean before turning it in?
Thanks, William
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I worked a lot of construction when I was young and tried to collect the scrap off the job sites for recycling, but it was hard to come by as most of the electricians kept it for themselves. Many of the electricians I worked with used to burn the insulation off.
Matt
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I'd be curious to see if any of those electricians are still alive or died at a young age. Burning off the insulation emits some very toxic chem's and is not recommended. Cheers, cc

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Burning it off is a bad idea. My Dad used to do that in our back yard when I was a kid back in the 60s. Kinda frowned upon right now. You'll have the FD down on you faster than you can say "EPA."
You can recycle the stuff as is or, if you really have "miles" of it, you can invest in your own bulk wire stripping equipment, which all of the scrap metal recyclers already own. The difference in scrap value might be enough to justify the investment.
-Frank
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Could probably send it through a chipper like machine and seperate the copper from the insulation once it is all tiny chunks. THis is how they recover precious metals from electronic assemblies. (gold from IC chips and PC boards)
With the insulation on, the recycler will take it but not for much money if any.
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About six month ago I got $1.10 a pound for copper pipe clean no solider on ends.If they see one piece with solider they call it all dirty. Also check some places were paying as low as $.60. They probably take to the place paying $1.10. I have heard on some jobs when they installed the copper they sprayed it black. they will cut it out of the walls. Last job I was on 3" k grew legs and walked.

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Call around. If you got "miles" of it, I am sure you can find a scrap dealer that would buy it. They may even pick it up.
You will probably get more if you take it in to them, and shop around because for that much, a nickel a pound can add up to a Franklin real fast.
Copper is a pretty good commodity.
Steve
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SteveB wrote:

Not likely unless he's got at least a semi-load full, and then still not likely if it's still insulated...

But if you try you'll find that small gauge insulated wire isn't much of one compared to bulk copper...
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Duane Bozarth wrote:

Greetings,
I looked at it 2 ways:
A mile of 14-2 is only about $600.00 brand new from the store. If the recycling center pays 10% of new value (*a made up number, not even a guesstimate) and I have 3 miles of romex wire (counting 3 miles of knob and tube as 1 mile or romex) I am only looking at $180.00
I estimate the weight of the copper at 225 lb (3 miles*3 conductors*4110 cmils/conductor @ 557 pound / (ft^3) for cu) -- or $250 @ 1.10/lb if I burned and washed it and much less if I didn't. This seems like a lot of work and I have kept it around for a long time to accumulate this much. If I had done these calculations a year back I never would have held on to the wire. Maybe I miscalculated somewhere?
I will call up the recycling center in the next few days and see what they pay. I might hold off on taking it in until I can burn it as it sounds like this will significantly increase its value. The chopping / wire stripping equipment would have to be VERY cheap to make it worth my while.
Thank you all very much for your input, William
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