When you are scrapping different materials and items, you will often find scrap copper wire that can be removed from the equipment and separated to scrap later on. Whether you scrap your insulated copper by itself or take time to strip it, make sure to set it aside, as it can be valuable for your scrap metal profits.
Copper is one of the most sought out materials in the scrap metal industry. It is used in a wide variety of things, like plumbing, electrical components, structural material, decorative design, and more. So refining your search to some of the most common places you will find copper wire, will help you save time and money by scrapping more efficiently.
Best Items to Search for Insulated Copper Wire
- TVs & Monitors – Many scrap yards don’t accept any monitors due to the difficulty of recycling them, however, almost all monitors and TV screens have wires attached. These wires can be snipped off even with a standard pair of scissors and added to your insulated wire pile. They can be found coming out of the base of TV and computer monitors. The smaller transformers that can be found on the wires too can be cut off and separated for a different scrap value.
- Inside Electronics – Many electronics not only have wires on the outside that can be cut off but once you open them up and take them apart you will find the more insulated wire. In some items like VCRs, DVD players, Laptops, and more you will find thinner insulated copper wires running throughout. You can usually cut these out with thin nose pliers or scissors and can put them in the same pile as the wires from your monitors. These copper wires will often be classified as regular insulated wire or computer wire at the scrap yard.
- Computers – While we mentioned you can cut wires off computer monitors, you can also find a good amount of insulated wire inside desktop towers. Once take apart a desktop computer tower for the boards, hard drives, and more inside, you can separate the insulated wires. There will usually be different types of wire inside, some ribbon wire and thin-insulated connectors.
- Large Appliances – Refrigerators, freezers, dryers, washer machines, dishwashers, and other large appliances are great items to collect for steel loads. But before you start to dump these large items in the yard, be sure to cut off those wires from the back. The larger items like ovens and fridges will often have a thicker insulated wire (needed for more power) and your weight can add up quickly.
- Small Appliances – Smaller items inside your house that may break can have a good amount of copper wire in them too. Some items like coffee makers, AC Units, Fans, Blenders, Toasters, and more all have insulated wire inside and on the outside of them.
- Small Electronics – Cell phones, cameras, handheld games, and other small electronics that may need regular charging, are good places to find insulated wires. If one of these items has kicked the bucket, be sure to collect all of those charging wires and stations to add to your insulated copper pile.
- Extension Cords – If there are extra or broken extension cords around, you can be sure to collect those for copper wire for your scrap yard. Extension cords are usually going to be priced with regular wire but when added to a pile, can add good weight.
- Computer Servers – They aren’t as easy to come by compared to the above items for copper wire. If you do happen to get your hands on some computer servers they can yield a lot more wires compared to the regular computers. Also, be sure to check with your scrap yard if they buy computer wires differently than insulated wire.
*BONUS TIP*: While scrapping all of these insulated wires from electronics be sure to cut off the plugs from the ends, many of the plugs can be pulled out by pliers and added to your Brass pile.
You Found Some Wire, Now What? Strip It For Bare Bright Copper!
Now that you have collected different insulated copper wires in one pile, it can be very tempting to strip them all for the bare bright copper inside. It isn’t a bad idea to strip your wire, but also consider how much weight you have. If you have a large quantity (over 100 pounds), it could be worth your time to strip them. But if you don’t have a lot (less than 100 pounds), it may not be worth your time to strip them and also you will be losing a lot of weight of the material by removing the insulation.
To check the current scrap price for your insulated copper wire price, be sure to download the iScrap App and check the national averages and also search for your local scrap yard. If your local scrap yard doesn’t list their current scrap prices, you can view the regional prices or give them a call for their price. Always be sure to have a handy pair of scissors on hand, you never know when you could use them to clip off some insulated wire.
CopperMine's NEW Model 102 design provides customers with a more economical copper wire stripping machine that can process a wider variety of wires. This handheld model provides scrappers or hobbyists just starting with the essential tools they need to process wires .24 AWG (3/64") and up, either solid or stranded. This is a great option to keep with you on the go to strip smaller gauge wires or cables you come across. One downfall is that the speed you can get through wires will be slow compared to electric or drill-powered ones.