Salvaging Wire and Cable Can Mean Big Bucks

Scrap metal products like wire and cable, aluminum conduit, cable tray, copper pipe, and even switchgear are normal by-products of electrical contracting jobs. But many contractors don’t know how recycling these materials can add to the profitability of their jobs. The way to get top dollar for your scrap is knowing the best way to to collect and sort the material. Scrap material is normally classified as either ferrous or nonferrous. The ferrous, or magnetic, materials are steel items. The nonferrous materials include stainless steel, brass, aluminum, and copper. But just gathering your job-site refuse and taking it to the scrap yard isn’t enough. Here’s how to maximize your revenue.

Separate Wire By Type

Separating high-voltage electrical cable from low-voltage communications wire allows your scrap dealer to weigh and grade each type of wire based on its copper or aluminum content. Keeping them separate takes the guesswork out of measuring the exact weight of each type of conductor. Also, separate aluminum and copper wire for processing.

Don’t Strip Insulation from Wire

Stripping insulation by hand can lead to injury and doesn’t add to the value of the wire. Pricing is based on specific formulas for each type of wire. The insulation will be removed later by high-speed wire-chopping machines. You can even leave the wire on its spool because the machine will also separate the wood content from the wire. Never burn wire to remove its insulation – it is not necessary and you could be fined by the EPA.

Remove All Contaminants

The highest valued insulated wire is #1 copper wire with has no other metallic contaminants. The next best is #2 copper wire, which contains contaminants such as  solder and plating.  Connectors, end fittings and plated or lead items are worth much less than copper, so you should remove the non-copper items if possible.  By removing these contaminants ahead of time, you may raise the value of  your scrap material.

Look For Legal Calibrated Scales

Mankato Iron and Metal uses an independent firm to regularly calibrate our scales and provide certifications.  Be wary of portable scales. They do not travel well.  Inaccurate scales can severely reduce the value of your scrap.

Transporting Your Scrap to The Dealer

Wire and cable can be extremely heavy. If you can’t safely haul the material to the scrap yard in your truck, ask us about our container service and use our pick-up service to transport your items instead.

Don’t Miss Other Recyclable Materials

Other material found on jobsites, such as aluminum conduit, cable trays, copper pipe, brass fixtures, control centers, and switchgear can be of significant value.

Work With Someone You Trust

Develop a relationship with a dealer who has a good reputation, is well established in the community, and is the most qualified to process your specific scrap. Mankato Iron and Metal has been doing business in the Mankato area for 40+ years and we’re known for our honesty and integrity. The value of scrap metal can change daily due to market price fluctuations. So, be wary of scrap dealers that offer prices that seem out of the norm.

Look For Clean, Efficient Yards

Your time is valuable and better spent on the job. Scrap recycling centers are often dirty, crowded, and hazardous work environments that present several opportunities for flat tires and other vehicle damage that can cut into your bottom line. Mankato Iron and Metal prides itself on our clean yard and concrete drives. Plus, we are set up to help contractors get in and out fast.