Can copper be harvested from discarded phone wire?

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I have approximately 30 pounds of discarded phone wire. I would like to recycle the metals (copper?) within, but don't know if it is feasible or even worth attempting. I also just returned from helping a parent clean out the garage, including a retired aerospace engineer's vast collection of junk. I (strangely) could not find any entity that would accept any wires, cables or connectors for recycle. Is there a way I can break at least the wires down for scrap metal?
 
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Thank you Grinkle! I've been trying Google, but maybe am trying to answer too many questions at once, and did not find iscrapapp.com. This site seems to address my question, and those questions about scrap wire that came up as I read the link. Perhaps I can find a way to make recycling undesirables easier, then I will have answered that sticky underbelly of my question, "Why do recycling facilities refuse wires when they obviously have value?"
 

rbelli1

Gold Member
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Some areas require recycling business to obtain information from anyone recycling metals as a precaution against receiving stolen goods. The ones you visited may have not had the ability to do that properly. Maybe they did not have the facilities to handle that type of crap.

Did you ask them the reason for refusal of the material? They might know where you can go to recycle electronic scrap.

BoB
 
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usually the policy
Some areas require recycling business to obtain information from anyone recycling metals as a precaution against receiving stolen goods. The ones you visited may have not had the ability to do that properly. Maybe they did not have the facilities to handle that type of crap.

Did you ask them the reason for refusal of the material? They might know where you can go to recycle electronic scrap.

BoB
 
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I think I deleted my post by accident? If so, I have a copy of it in Word if that helps. Sorry BoB, I was going to reply: I asked those workers informing would-be recyclers why they would not take any sort of electronic wires, and they would just repeat their policy. When asked what alternatives I had, I would be referred to either the dump, or another recycling entity who also would refuse, saying "we only take _____ " fill in the blank. I think I should talk to the decision maker, but am not sure who that is.
 

rbelli1

Gold Member
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Do you care if you get money for the material?

If you take it to you local dump they will usually have a place to put electronics. You will not usually get anything for that.

BoB
 

DrDu

Science Advisor
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I remember that to remove the isolation from cables these are frozen in with liquid nitrogen so that the isolation becomes brittle and can then be broken off mechanically. Quite an elaborate process.
 
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Our local recycle site has a mega-skip for cables and such. 'Traditional' scrap dealers are very, very wary due risk of 'handling stolen property'...
 
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Back as a teenager in the 1960's I,would collect scrap wire for spending money. Living next to a military base I had access to a great deal of valuable surpluses they would discard.
A small pile of kindling in a burn barrel would start the insulation on fire but never got hot enough to melt the copper.
Many things are different today, annealed copper for sale may be one of them.
 

DrDu

Science Advisor
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Torbert, congratulations, apparently you are the founder of New Seveso!
Copper wire is typically insulated with PVC which upon thermal decomposition yields all kinds of choroorganic compounds. Copper is an excellent catalyst for the formation of chlorodibenzodioxines from these.
 
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Expected similar to that, at least you were specific, pop science forums would just call me polluter.
Mining and processing the equivalent in ore involves a few processes not germane here as well.

It made the copper easier to sell. Whether or not the total carbon footprint is better or worse did not play into the comment.
 

DrDu

Science Advisor
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746
Here an interesting annex to the Stockholm convention:
 

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