Recycling PVC Insulated Cables

By AWD Digital

If you’re looking for interesting and different ways to recycle and sell scrap metal at home, then you should consider looking into some old PVC insulated cables you might have. These sorts of cables are pretty common and the great thing about them is that there’s a pretty high chance that you have some lying around the house.

They’re used in conjunction with common home theatre products such as speakers, amplifiers and televisions. They’re also used as the electronic wiring throughout your house. PVC insulated cables have been around since the 1950s where they replaced rubber insulated cables. Here are some reasons why they make great scrap metal you can recycle and sell.

PVC Insulated Cables


What are they exactly?

Firstly, you should understand what exactly you’re recycling. Polyvinylchloride (or PVC) cabling is standard copper electrical wiring that contains a PVC coat. The way this is created is that oil is extracted and chemically altered to form the material that we know as PVC. Copper is widely used in electrical cabling due to its high conductibility properties.

It replaced rubber coating in the 50s because it’s easier to produce and has a longer and more durable life expectancy of 25 – 30 years. PVC is also a very malleable and versatile material, despite Its rigid feel. It can be modified easily using plasticizers, lubricants and other similar property altering ingredients.


What are some of its properties?

PVC insulated cables are flame retardant. Which is very handy considering what they’re used for. They can also operate within temperatures ranging from -40 to 105 degrees Celsius, as well as being to withstand long-term exposure from the sun. It also has a low corona resistance, which helps against high voltage electrical discharges.

In terms of the copper wire within the PVC insulation, it is a highly conductible material that is second only to silver. Silver, however, is not nearly as widely used due to its high price. Copper is also heat resistant and very malleable, allowing anyone to be able to bend it into any shape they need it to be.


Recycling the copper

If you’re looking to sell scrap metal, then why not check out some old PVC insulated cables that you’re not using anymore. The copper within the cables can be easily recycled and processed as most other copper items are done. The metal wires are separated from their insulation casings and the precious metals are extracted – resulting in concentrated amounts of copper, as well as some other metals.

It is actually a lot cheaper and easier to recycle copper than it is to mine fresh copper. It only takes approximately 10GJ per tonne to recycle copper. Whereas to extract virgin copper from ore, the power needed is closer to 100GJ per tonne. It takes 10% of the amount of energy to recycle copper compared to mining it fresh. Recycled copper is worth around 90% of the cost of virgin copper.


Recycling PVC insulated cables

The PVC is where things get interesting. A special technique must be utilised to break down the PVC insulation into scrap plastic and other ferrous scraps. Recycling PVC insulation has a massive impact on the environment as so much PVC insulation has ended up in landfills. Recycling them also cuts back on the amount of virgin PVC material that gets made as the recycled materials are replacing them.

PVC is actually the second most used plastic in the world, after polyethylene. Recycling PVC insulation only uses half the amount of energy that it takes to produce virgin PVC, as well as emitting only 39% of the greenhouse gasses. This has a massive impact on the environment. Especially considering the majority of PVC scrap that has ended up in landfills end up causing pollution and can even go as far as polluting groundwater.


Looking to sell scrap metal?

If you’re looking to sell scrap metal that you don’t need then Metal Men Recycling is the right company for you! We buy your unwanted scrap metal where we appropriately recycle and dispose of it. With over 50 years of combined experience, we’re dedicated to providing the best possible solutions. We’re able to pick up the scrap from your home or business or you can bring it down yourself.

If you have any further questions about the services that we offer then please give us a call on 03 5941 6677 or send us a message through our website here.

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