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  1. #1
    vamped400 started this thread.
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    stripping copper wire vs non stripping-my opinion.

    this is my opinion on stripping copper wires or not. first off, #1 copper-$3.15, #2 copper-$3.05, and insulated copper wire-$140 up at one steel in glenburn maine

    I used my scales at home to weigh my copper before and after stripping in a 32 gal. trash can. at first it was 83 pounds of non stripped solid wire. my scales are a little off, well a lot off from what the scrap yards was so ill do my best to explain. i put a good 15 hours of time into stripping the wire, and ended up with 24 pounds of #1 copper which added up to $75. I had 34 pounds of wire i didnt strip, which gave me $47. I weighed the insulation and it was 5 pounds in a tote. so somewhere i lost 20 pounds, but i did also weigh my copper in a tote and a 32 gallon trash can. if for say, i left my all wire unstripped and took ten pounds off from the trash can, i would have ended up with $102. I made $122 from stripping some, and leaving some. So i made an extra $20 by stripping, or $1.34 an hour.

    my conclusion- If you have time, and a lot of wire thats easy to strip, id say it could be worth it. will i strip again? most likely not. I put too many hours in for stripping for a little bit extra money

    Happy scrapping everyone!



    if you have any opinions or corrections, feel free to post!

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  3. #2
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    I don't find much wire that is worth stripping. One batch I had was the difference of $1,025.85, so I definitely stripped that. Brother and I knocked it out in 2 hours.

    BTW, that was what I believe to be a once in a lifetime find.

    The junk that comes in appliances I take as is. About the only thing I spend time on is solid wire and even that doesn't seem worth doing.

  4. #3
    sjones99's Avatar
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    Thats what i keep saying...nowadays with new techniques for cleaning the wire its more efficient and you can make near the same amount without stripping it.

  5. #4
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    We don't strip small gauge stranded wires usually, BUT we will save up the larger stuff to do on slower days.
    For us here, it is about $1.60 per lb. more for Bare/Bright, so it is worth it to strip it.

  6. #5
    vamped400 started this thread.
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    yeah thats a good idea^^^ except i really dont own a scrap business, and i was in a rush to get it turned in before my cousin found it.

  7. #6
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    I think the determinant is what the opportunity cost of stripping the wire is and this has a lot to do with how efficient you make the process. Just buy a good wire stripper and you'll find that stripping is just a matter of sticking wire in a hole.

  8. #7
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    for the average Scrapper, stripping VS not has everything to do with how fairly your yard pays you for ICW.

    you have to sit down and do your recovery calculations and compare those to the bare bright price you are receiving,

    I will give you a great example pull out a piece of yellow or white romex, if you are getting 50% of the bare bright price, by stripping it you can make 12-17% subtract time labour and equipment costs, you probably have a wash. you are just keeping busy, and not making money

    V/r HT1

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  10. #8
    eesakiwi's Avatar
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    I have like 450kg + of plastic coated Copper wire. ( 1000 lbs) made up of....

    14 + X 40kg Coal sacks full, (grain/seed sacks size 3 ft high by 18 inch dia)

    30kg shielded Copper wire, mostly computer connection cables with the end (Gold plated) plugs cut off. 1 sack

    30kg fine Copper wire, mostly thin dia plastic coated stuff, monitor and interconnection cable that's been desheathed and thin ribbon cable. 1 sack

    70kg single strand telephone cable that's had the outer sheath and the 'star' shaped plastic runner down the centre removed, this works out to over 80% Copper return (85%?) 2 sacks

    70kg Flat ribbon computer interconnect cable etc with the Gold plated plugs removed. 2 sacks

    300kg plastic coated stranded Copper wire,( X? % is 'Tinned Copper' wire) This is all from power cords and such that have had the outer sheath removed so theres only 1 layer of rubber/plastic around them. 10+ sacks.

    My options are...
    1, Burn the plastic off. Yes I know, I know... I have done this in the past and I get 66% of pre burn weight in Copper.
    However that was years ago and mostly one sack or less, sometimes 2 sacks, of car loom cable.
    Its a lot of work as its done "hush hush" like, its illegal except if you do it by law which is itchy.. 500 odd Kgs would be a LOT of work and a lot of processing, it has to be cooled and washed right after burning or it oxidises and crumbles. That costs me in the return %.
    Looking at it, I 'could' burn the telephone cable to get a quick buck ($).

    2, Strip it.... Oh no... The monotony of stripping it is mind numbing... Its stranded cable too, and some is Tin plated.
    Plus I would have to make some sort of stripper to do it. Which means making several and failing at either all of them, or all but the one that works...
    . Its a one off situation too, I am never going to have this amount of plastic coated Copper again.

    3, The idea that I like, but gives me the least amount of return $. Sell it 'as is'.
    The good thing is that it requires no extra added work. Yay! The ends in sight. So is the $$$.
    The bad thing is that my local yard will only give me the lowest return price for it.
    I could get accurate weights of the amount I have and approach them again to maybe get a better price. Maybe.
    Or ask at the other two scrapyards here.
    Nobody here can granulate it down to get the best return, so they all sell it on and that's why I can only get the lowest Copper % return price for it. Its a gamble for them and they hold the cards, so to speak, they make their $ on the difference between their Buy & Sell price. If its a higher % return, they get a better profit a month or so later when they get paid for it.
    By then they have forgotten who sold it to them and what it looked like and what their actual profit works out to be.

    So,
    1, I have no intention of burning it. That will be a relieve to you.
    2, Its far too involved to strip it down.
    3, I cannot granulate it and neither can my buyers.
    4, At the moment all I can get for it is its lowest ever price of the lowest ever % $ return...
    5, My only other option is too....
    (A) Hit up all 3 scrap buyers to see if I can get a better price return.
    (B) Take it far far away ( 400 miles?) To a buyer who will pay me on Plastic/Copper % return.

    That will cost me $200+ in fuel, there and back. But it would be a nice holiday away.
    I have tried to see if they would also buy my 500 Kg + of escrap but their prices are about 30- 40% of 'Boardsorts.com' prices. Ouch, being so far away from the market hurts.

    OK. Tomorrow I am going to get back to the guy who will do a 'one off' buy of my escrap based on boardsorts prices, but in NZ$.
    ie, If 'boardsorts' price is US$2.50/kg, I get NZ$2.50/kg. He makes his profit on the exchange rate (nice arrangement!)


    So his profit is NZ$1.25/Kg. If the NZ$ is 2/3rds the US$.
    The NZ$1.00 equals US0.66cents ~ at the moment.
    Maybe as much as US0.70cents. Then he would be making 30 cents in the dollar. That's a nice profit arrangement.

    OK, I will be back in 24 hours with a answer to my situation.

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  12. #9
    eesakiwi's Avatar
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    Well more than 24hrs passed... But I got my answer.

    The local yards paying only NZ$1.90kg for plastic coated wire.... One price for all wire, the lowest price.
    I have decided that I will not burn any of it off, which will be a relief to a lot of you, and me, its a real pain to do it. In this amount, a real big pain, and lots of more work.

    I have found out I can get NZ$2.70+/Kg for 60%+ Copper return wire.
    And NZ$3.70+/Kg for 80%+ Copper return wire.

    It actually works out better by NZ$200 to drive <400 miles and sell it and drive back, including fuel..... Free holiday.
    Though that includes a few more sacks of wire I have around, real thin stuff, co-ax, the 2 sacks of 80% Copper return.
    I get a free holiday out of town for a few days, have only been out of town once in the last 6-7 years, things have changed a bit too.

    I also sorta added up my CPU collection and found it contains more than 20 grams of Gold.... That's just the large CPU...
    Its worth it for me to send it to America too sell it there..

    Haha, someone here's going to benefit $$.
    Its NZ$50 to send 2.5kg to America. Equals 5 1/2 lbs...@ US$33.oo

    I guess I will be knocking off the large Copper heatsinks from the CPU to save weight. Maybe.

    Anyone know of a good CPU buyer?

    I will see the escrap buyer here tomorrow, I think it would be easier to sell him everything but the CPU's.
    They are a little messy because we do not really know exactly how they are classed. The 486 & 386 & K5's = ???
    I have a rough/clean idea on what to expect, but its the buyer who makes the real final call on description.
    If I just sell my escrap boards to him, that's easy to figure out.

    The escrap buyer who is the 400miles away, pays only 25% of 'boardsorts' 'US$/NZ$ exchange rate included' prices. (I had to get a 2nd opinion/prices to be sure)
    The local guy says he will pay @ 70% of board sorts prices, ie, he pays boardsorts prices, but in NZ$, not US$, his profit is the exchange rate difference. Great idea. 30% cut.

    Its probably 3 gayloads. ( cringe on using the word 'gayload'. In NZ its called a 'Fadge' (US readers will cringe to that word too..) Commonly used to pack bales of sheep's wool in. Equals 1 pallet square, maybe 1cubic metre?) of escrap, maybe more.
    I will get him to drop in to have a look at it first.
    The local guys only ten blocks away from home.

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  14. #10
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    I know you said a few times you don't plan on burning it.
    But just the fact that you are considering it, is extremely bothersome to us.

    I am sure we all cut some corners here and there, but burning plastic insulation? Really?
    Time is Money - Crunch the Numbers - It's a Numbers Game!

  15. #11
    eesakiwi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by aph View Post
    I know you said a few times you don't plan on burning it.
    But just the fact that you are considering it, is extremely bothersome to us.

    I am sure we all cut some corners here and there, but burning plastic insulation? Really?

    Yeah, I know, I know. Its a option, even if its not a good one. We used to burn the insulation off years ago. Before 2005.
    Back then prices were lower and it did make a difference.
    And you could burn it off back then too. All you had to do was contact the local council and sort out a time and a place that's OK with them.
    It had to be out in the country, and they told you what else you had to do, and informed the fire brigade to tell them in case they got a phone call.
    My scrap buyer told me story's of the amount they used to do 'back in the day'. Tons and tons, on a farm using the dirt truck loading ramps with railway iron spread across it, forklifting it on and once its burning, using the forklift to jiggle it so the ash fell out.

    And doing it on the most windy stormy nights possible because of the extra air and the rain cooling the hot Copper wire after and stopping oxidisation.

    Once I saw a pic from a airplane of a ship towing a barge, a football field sized barge, 12 feet deep of plastic coated wire.
    Once the ship got into international waters they set fire to the wire.
    And it burnt all the way to the final port. The black cloud was a huge thick long rope way up into the atmosphere, and it ran half way around the world.
    At the port, its still burning, but they blame it on a "Lightening strike" and nobody can do anything about it.

    To get it off the barge, they use big front end loaders, with steel wheels, as they lift it up the smoldering plastic catches fire again and the drivers (Asian) only have a wet scarf around their faces to breath thru.
    This photo I saw was taken back in 2004+ and was in the newspaper.

    I am not burning the plastic coating off and have not done it for years and years, I just wanted to see what return$ are compared to other option$.
    The big thing I have found out, is that's its not viable anymore.. That surprised me. Along with the fines of getting caught doing it and I must add, the environmental effect.

    I expect that as they can get money for the plastic chop now, and far better money for the clean granulated Copper wire #1. (Than burnt domestic copper wire..)
    They make extra $ both ways, along with better separation and volume of processing. = $$$

    So, breathe a sigh of relief I am not burning plastic at any stage and have not done that for the least decade either.
    It'll be about 5-6 weeks before I sell it too.

    Oh, side note. If anyone burns off even the smallest amount of plastic off in a inside fireplace, with a chimney.
    This is what happens. It burns with a acidic arid smoke, some of the smoke condenses inside the chimney, it condenses as a sort of 'spider web' structure, its soft and web like just like a spider web. But if afterwards there's any wood burnt in that fireplace, the wood smoke hits the web like strands and condenses, but it condenses solid, like a resinous smoke would.

    Real solid, if hit it will crack and break.
    But its solid. If more plastics burnt, it does this again..
    After about 4 cycles of this, the chimney is almost blocked off by the solid carbon, if it gets hot, it can catch fire and you end up with a chimney fire and a visit by the fire brigade, or your house catches fire and you still get a visit, but its too late now.

    So, never burn any plastic off in a inside fire with chimney, actually, never burn it off, its recyclable, if not today, if its stored, then one day a way away.

    Just to make sure. I am selling my plastic coated wire 'as is', to a proper recycler. And going to see Black Sabbath live at the same time.
    Last edited by eesakiwi; 03-17-2016 at 05:30 AM.

  16. #12
    hobo finds's Avatar
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    If you are goanna burn burn this!

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  18. #13
    ragstoriches's Avatar
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    Ozzy walks the same now as he did in 1989 I loved that time period. Anyways, back to stripping wire. I strip all my wire until I can afford a granulator. I wish they had very small version for us little guys and not the huge 3 phase ones. I would never burn wire or chips.

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