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How to make money from cable scrap

  Wednesday, 21 June 2023

Do you have a load of old cables lying around? Selling them to a scrap metal recycling centre is a quick and easy way to make money. Copper wires are key constituents of cabling, and non-ferrous metals like copper are always in high demand.

Pile of assorted cables

What types of metal are in cables?

Household scrap metal doesn’t come much more common than cable. Every mains electrical device will have at least one cable, if not two. Most households will have built up quite a collection, from ethernet cables to HDMI cables and telephone socket cables.

Instead of hoarding them in the hope that they may be of use at some point in the future, why not cash in on them? You might be surprised by how much your cables are worth.

Copper is the most common metal found in electrical cables, being one of the most conductive metals. Take a cable apart and you will find it consists of many strands of copper wire interwoven.

Plus, there is more copper being recycled than new copper being mined, so selling your scrap cable is the green thing to do.

How are copper wires categorised?

Copper wire is divided into the following categories:

  • 70%: single core cable 5-8mm in diameter
  • 50-60%: the kind of wire found in most common electrics
  • 45%: cable wire from household appliances and extension leads
  • 25%: steel wire armoured cable

There is also a copper grading system. Find out more about #1 copper and #2 copper.

What shall I do with my scrap cable before I sell it?

Separate the cable scrap you have been able to collect into different metals. This will make it easier for a scrap dealer to grade it and give you a price. It is a good idea to ‘clean’ the cable too. By this we mean getting rid of any paint or brass attachments. Copper that is free of paint or brass will receive a higher grading and a higher price.

Stripped wire is also more profitable, so if you have the time, strip the insulation from your cable. You can use a wire stripping tool or do it by hand. Make sure you have enough cable to justify selling it. Scrap metal recycling centres like ASM will only quote on a minimum amount of scrap metal.

Selling cable scrap metal to ASM

If you have a significant quantity of scrap metal to sell, get in touch with an ASM recycling centre. We have been specialists in scrap metal recycling for over 50 years, so know how to get you the best price possible. Copper is one of the metals we recycle most, so we see a lot of cable! We will grade the cable scrap we receive and use digital scales to give you the most accurate weight and value.

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