There’s Copper in Them There Bins, Part Two

In part one of this two-part post I talked about my mad plan to cash in all the little scraps of copper pipe and wire that I saved from my renovation jobs. My effort was working out to $8 per hour based on my 1 hour test which ended with about 4 pounds of stripped copper wire.  The upside is that all the copper pipe required very little processing.  I thought about separating the brass valves and fittings from the pure copper pipe, but decided not to.  It In the end it was a big rookie mistake.

Instead of watching old TV series of “LOST” I was out in the shop working away at stripping the plastic from copper wire cords.  I found an easy way to strip solid, house wiring but the stranded wire that is used for most appliance cords was left out.  My device didn’t work so well with stranded wire, or very small gauge wire such as speaker wire.

So, below is what we had when we showed up at the Metal Recyclers.  It didn’t seem like much


I wanted to show you exactly what we got.

Retail Receipt Showing weight and value of scrap metal


“GROSS” and NET” are the weight in pounds (they didn’t subtract the weight of the plastic bucket, which was minimal anyway).

$123.20 is the grand total.  One of my rookie mistakes was not properly separating the brass pipe fittings (elbows & valves) from the copper pipe.  Any copper that was attached to a brass fitting got weighted and paid out as brass.   I probably lost $15 dollars by not doing this.  Live and Learn.

So, based on what I earned, I think I’ll be doing more copper recycling.  If you consider all your time, you really don’t make much.  If your actually spending time hunting for copper in dumpsters, I’ll bet your making less than minimum wage.  But there is a higher purpose than just money; it’s keeping valuable material out of landfills and being a good environmentalist.