Wire Stripping Tools for Copper Wire Recycling

By Sally O'Brien

If you’re looking to sell scrap copper wire, then Metal Men Recycling is your best bet. We deal with both small and large quantities of salvaged scrap copper for recycling as copper wires are in great demand and one of the most highly sought-after metals in the scrap metal industry. All copper is almost 100% recyclable and present in most household appliances and electrical cabling. Recycled copper has the added benefit of being more environmentally friendly and cost-effective than obtaining virgin copper. If you’re new to scrap metal collection, removing any extra attachments on your scrap metal such as nuts, bolts or nails and stripping your copper wire of shielding and insulation materials will ensure a higher price. We’ve compiled some handy tips and techniques to help you clean your scrap by stripping your copper wire.

The function of wire insulation

Copper wires are surrounded by a coating of plastic insulation to protect the cables and surrounds. This is due to the heat and fire risk caused by electricity passing through the material of the cables. The insulation is also to protect the wiring against moisture and allow the cables to be submerged if needed. While simple tools like knives and scissors can be used without problem, wire stripping technology has progressed to manual and automatic wire strippers.

Using household scissors or a utility knife

Once you’ve gathered the scrap copper wire in your home, the shielding can be removed with the help of a knife or scissors and a bit of precision. Place the blade against the wire and gently roll the wire so that the insulation sheathing is scored all the way around. This method requires a bit of practice and patience to be done delicately enough to not damage the wiring, but once you’ve mastered scoring the sheath it is easy to break the insulation and slide it off to expose the wire ready for recycling.

Manual wire stripping tools

Today, wire stripping tools are available that don’t require the precision and skill needed for a knife or pair of scissors. Manual wire strippers are a pair of opposing blades with several notches for different wire sizes. This tool makes it easy to remove the insulation of wires by cutting and rotating it around the shielding being careful to avoid cutting the wire. The tool then allows the insulation to be slid off the end of the wire and removed. Make sure to use the correct notch on the tool to avoid creating gouges or mistakenly removing fine strands of copper wire. If you don’t know the wire’s gauge, place the wire in each notch to find a match. 

Warming with heat will also make the insulation softer and easier to remove with a handheld tool. Consider placing your wires in sunlight to soften them slightly and make the insulation easier to score or slice. Remember to also have a container ready to collect all the stripped insulator.

Automatic wire stripper

Electric wire strippers are the most suitable and time-efficient method of wire stripping for larger volumes of copper wires. This tool functions by inserting the wire into the machine where a sharp blade cuts the insulation for easy removal of the wire cable. This is purpose-built for removing large quantities of insulation, but due to the price, this tool might not be the best option economically for more casual scrap recyclers!

Do not burn your copper wires

These are safe methods to remove the plastic insulation surrounding copper wires, but simply burning the plastic insulation off your copper wires is not recommended. Burning wire insulation in low-temperature fires releases harmful fumes from the melted plastic, containing contaminants that are detrimental to your health and the environment. This pollution ends up in the air and the ash, spreading into the soil and water and being carried away from the burn site. With fines associated with burning household materials in Victoria, this method is not worth the trouble.

Recycling copper wire in Melbourne

Once you’ve sorted your scrap metals and stripped your copper wires, bundle them neatly together separately from other metal materials. This will make your copper wiring easier to manage and weigh to ensure an accurate quote for this highly durable metal. It’s also important to avoid mixing different scrap metals to ensure you are paid the appropriate amount for your copper wire. 
At Metal Men Recycling, we strive to make the process of selling scrap copper wire easy and profitable for our customers offering free scrap metal collection bins for businesses and a 24-hour metal collection service in Melbourne. We play an important role in sustainability and our knowledgeable staff can assist you with any questions you may have about the recycling process. 

If you’re looking to sell scrap copper wire in Melbourne and make a positive impact on the environment, get in touch with us by calling 03 5941 6677 or contact us via the enquiry form on our website.  

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