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Can copper be harvested from discarded phone wire?

  1. Apr 14, 2016 #1
    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?
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 14, 2016 #2


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  4. Apr 15, 2016 #3
    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?"
  5. Apr 16, 2016 #4


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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.

  6. Apr 17, 2016 #5
    usually the policy
  7. Apr 17, 2016 #6
    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.
  8. Apr 17, 2016 #7


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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.

  9. May 4, 2016 #8


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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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