What do you do with scrap wire? Do you recycle it for $? If so, how much do you accumulate before you take it to a recycler? Do you remove the insulation? I imagine that you would get a better price for clean copper but is it worth the effort? I have lot of romex in my garage that is starting to bug me because it's taking up too much space.
I've been saving mine for a couple of years now, the local scrap yard offers a much better price for stripped copper, but will accept copper with insulation.
My old mentor, Mr. Hixson, has taken large boxes weighing a couple hundred pounds to the Chrokee Nation in NC and sold the lot for enough money to pay for his vacation, several hundred dollars for un-stripped wire. Apparently, the Cherokee Nation can burn the insulation off without retaliation fom the EPA, and they make jewelry and trinkets from the smelded copper.
<threadjack> My ignorance is both apparent, and ironic given that I'm a certified member of the Cherokee Nation, myself. Complete with a Bureau of Indian affairs card and Cherokee Nation card. The true irony is that I can twist some copper into some terrible unartistic shape and legally call it "Authentic American Indian Art" whereas my neighbor who is a flint knapper and makes beautiful things cannot. He has more Indian blood than I have, but no card. He can't get one because his lineage cannot be traced back to those that signed some treaty. Apparently, my remote ancestors did. Stupid Laws.
[This message has been edited by sparky66wv (edited 07-07-2002).]
-Virgil Residential/Commercial Inspector 5 Star Inspections Member IAEI
I always save it then sell it. Although lately the price of copper has been so low that I've just been accumulating it. I have several hundred pounds. I'm waiting for the price of scrap to go up again, but when that happens, the price of wire goes up too.
I don't bother stripping it. Waste of time with the price being so low.
To put some numbers to it, I had just recently asked a local recycler and the price for clean "bright" copper was above .50/lb and non-stripped (insulation, no sheathing) was about .22/lb They used to take BX and metal-sheathed cable as-is for .06/lb but not anymore. They won't charge for dumping it though.
We have never used Aluminum so I have no idea what that would be.
Saving scrap copper is o.k. as long as you don’t get RABBIT FEVER! I saw a guy go crazy; like, making pulls extra long so there would be more scrap and then spending company time cutting the stuff up so he could carry it off the job site(stealing) . This guy had a homemade vest with many pockets sewn onto it. Kind of like a hunting vest with pockets for shells only his rabbit vest was for short pieces of copper. One day he slip and fell on some ice and he had so much rabbit stuffed into his vest he couldn’t get to his feet by himself. It took 3 men to assist him so he could stand. One day we heard the PoCo, that was building the power house we were working on at the time, got a search warrant and went to the guys house got most of their rabbit back and fired this guy. We never saw him again.
[This message has been edited by MikeW (edited 07-07-2002).]
I'd once worked with a bit-looney machinist who supposedly, each night, filled his bottle with brass shavings for a personal scrap pile. I could see something like titanium worth fooling with, but that was his sure-fire get-rich-quick scheme. Another would repeatedly make a shiny new lunchbox handle from 500MCM Cu.
The oddest was a guy with an oversized coat who decided once he wanted some cable, so he wrapped the booty around his stomach under his shirt, but forgot about “breathing room,” and passed out just this side of the main gate.
My company finally made a written policy that all scrap copper be returned to the shop. It has been a rule for many years but very rarely followed. Usually we give it to the apprentices or use it for a job party. Management kind of figured last year that something was up when the Oregon division did about the same dollar volume as us but turned in over $100,000 dollars more in scrap than us. Now it all has to go back to the shop.We tried to tell them that we are just better at ordering it, but that didn’t fly. They tell us they use the money for the extra curricular things they do for us. But who is to know.
I used to save the copper, give it to my friend to strip then we would split the money.
A couple of years ago I bought one of those "Big Bucks Wire Strippers". I didn't buy the power feed option but it works pretty well. The only thing is that once you get it set up for a certain size you had to stick to that size because adjusting it takes a little time. Once you got it adjusted it was like having a zipper on the coating. It worked really well on small wire (#12 & 10) left over on spools. We used it for up to 500MCM with no problems.
In one of the trade magazines some time ago, I saw an ad for a machine that would strip any size wire. You simply fed the wire in and it would spit out small copper pieces from one side and plastic coating on the other. Looked expensive.