What To Know About Scrapping Insulated Copper Wire

Posted on: 18 May 2020

Do you have a lot of insulated copper wire that you want to scrap to make some money? Here are some things that you need to know before you head to the scrap yard to recycle it.

Know What Kind Of Copper You Have

There are two types of copper that could be inside an insulated copper wire, which are referred to as #1 or #2 copper. This is based on the grade of the copper, with #1 copper being more valuable. One way to determine what kind of wire you have is to determine the gauge of the wire. The easiest way to do this if you do not have any special tools is to measure the wire's thickness with a ruler. If the wire is a single strand and is approximately 1/16" wide, it is considered to be 16 gauge wire, which makes it #1 copper. You can buy special tools to tell you the exact gauge of the wire, but this trick will give you a good approximation with what you have on hand. 

You can identify #2 copper because it is coated and made up of several individual strands that make up the wire. This type of wire is used for things like audio speakers because you can twist the strands of wire around each other at the end of the cable.

Know To Ask For The Scale Price

Before you visit different scrap yards, it will help to call and ask for the scale price for each grade of copper wire. This will let you know what you can expect to be paid for the copper before you bring it in. Of course, know that the price can always vary if you categorized the wire incorrectly, since the scrap yard makes the final call on what they buy.

Know When You Can Negotiate A Price

The price of copper fluctuates based on demand, and a scrap yard has to find a seller for your copper in order to be paid. This means that bringing in more copper wire will result in the scrap yard having more to sell, leading to them finding a buyer faster. If you are only bringing in a few pounds of copper wire, know that you do not have room to negotiate a price. The scrap yard may not have enough and be stuck with the copper until they get more of it, and the price can drop by then. If you have a lot of copper wire, you do have some room to negotiate because they'll find a buyer quickly.

If you have any copper you are not using, consider taking it to a copper recycling center.