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copper wire

How to Scrap a Stereo - Dallas, TX

How to Scrap a Stereo

When a car or home stereo goes bad, rather than throw it out, it’s worth the effort to take it apart at least a little bit and get at some of the potentially valuable scrap metal inside.

In this post, we’ll give you some tips and tricks to make the process of dismantling a stereo easier. Metals such as copper and even gold (in small amounts) are often available inside stereos, and even the wiring and motherboards can have significant value.

Before beginning to dismantle a stereo or any other appliance or electronic device, it’s important to make sure it is completely disconnected from all power sources. For a home stereo, unplug it from the wall, and cut the cord—this can be sold as insulated wire! Before dismantling a car stereo head unit, remove it from the dashboard. Stay safe, scrappers!

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Where to Find Copper Wire in Dallas and Garland - Encore Recyclers

Where to Find Copper Wire

Scrap copper is one of our customers’ favorite metals to hunt for, because it’s always in high demand. Even non-scrappers know that copper is a consistently valuable material. One of the most common ways to find copper is in the form of copper wire.

The Most Common Places to Find Copper Wire

One of the most common places to find copper wire is along with electronics. Whether you have some old computers you’re taking apart for their e-scrap value or a broken television set you’re having trouble getting rid of, it’s worth the time to do some basic dismantling to get valuable copper wire separated from other materials.

The easiest place to find insulated copper wire is in power cords of electronics. Even if you don’t have many tools or much experience taking apart electronics, you can probably cut a power cord—just be sure to take all the proper safety precautions while doing so.

A single power cord might not seem like it’ll bring a lot of value, but saving your insulated copper wire in a bucket or storage bin can lead to a pretty nice payday when it comes time to take all your scrap down to the yard.

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Top 5 Places to Find Copper for Recycling - Dallas, TX

Top 5 Places to Find Copper for Recycling

There’s a reason copper is one of the most frequently recycled metals at scrap facilities like Encore Recyclers. It’s pretty much the most valuable per-pound metal that you can frequently find in large quantities. However, it’s a lot easier to find if you know where to look—so here are the top five places to find scrap copper.

1. Construction and Demolition Sites

This might be the best place to find scrap copper—but it’s also the one you most often hear about people stealing copper from. Whenever you see a pile of copper—even if it’s in a Dumpster—be sure to ask the owner’s permission to take it. It’s often best to get them to sign the copper over to you, too.

One of the best ways to easily and legally get scrap copper from construction and demolition sites is to offer yourself up as a haul-away service. This is especially effective when it comes to small construction businesses, who may not have the resources to haul a lot of copper themselves.

That’s where you come in—by offering to haul away their scrap for free or very cheap, you can help a small business while also making some money yourself. You can often get other kind of scrap metal, such as steel, the same way!

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Selling Insulated Copper Wire Scrap for the Highest Price in Dallas, TX

Should You Burn Your Copper Wire to Earn More Money For Scrap?

Spoiler alert: NO!

We saw a disturbing video of a man advocating the burning of insulated copper wire, purportedly to qualify the wire as Copper #2, which brings a higher sale value when sold as scrap than insulated wire. Please don’t do this.

Burning insulated wire in Texas is ILLEGAL under the federal Clean Air Act.

Burning copper wire is not a safe way to release the copper inside it. Burning copper wire releases carcinogens and toxins into the air and into the ground around the burn site, including “dioxins, furans, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, particulate matter, heavy metals (such as lead, arsenic, selenium and cadmium) and other pollutants.”

You might wonder how burning copper wire yourself is different from the industrial process used to reclaim copper from insulated wire. It’s true that heat is also used to strip copper wire in a commercial setting. There is a big difference between holding copper wire over a flame, as an amateur might do, and a factory that uses the intense heat of an industrial incinerator and appropriate venting procedures. Burning insulated copper wire yourself releases toxins that can damage your nervous system, respiratory system, and cardiovascular system, not to mention increasing your risk of cancer.

Fines and punishment for not following this code are steep. You could face fines in the tens of thousands of dollars or even jail time. If someone should catch you burning insulated wire, they can report you for a reward.

This blog post from Scrap Metal Junkie breaks down the foolishness of burning copper wire for economic purposes.

Say for example that #1 copper scrap is worth 2.60 per pound, scrap insulated wire is worth $1.20 per pound, and burned wire is worth $2.20 per pound… For a pile of wire that weighs under 100 lbs, there is NO reason to burn it.

If you burned 100 lbs of insulated copper wire copper wire, and you end up with less than 60 pounds of burned copper, then that means you have broken even…(When you burn copper wire, it loses about half its weight, depending on the type of wire.)

On the other hand, if you were to strip the same wire, you would make at least $31!

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