How to Calculate the Recovery Rate of your Scrap Copper Wire

upclose of a copper wire which is scrappable for cash

How to Calculate the Recovery Rate of your Scrap Copper Wire

Copper is a commonly used material that’s highly conductive. It’s great for electric work in homes and appliances alike. Copper is also a non-ferrous metal, meaning that it contains no steel or iron, so when combined with its relative availability, this metal is worth a lot in the world of scrap recycling. This is why it’s important to know how to calculate your recovery rate for your copper wire before you take it over to a scrap metal yard. That way, you will have a clear idea of how much cash you can expect to receive which can help you make sure you are getting the fairest price for your scrap metal. Here’s how to calculate the recovery rate for your scrap copper wire.  

Calculating Your Recovery Rate  

First, you are going to want a small scale to weigh your copper wire on. You calculate the recovery rate of your scrap copper wire by dividing the weight of the piece of copper before and after the rubber or plastic casing that encloses the wire itself has been removed. It’s also a good idea to have a piece of paper and a pen to help you record the weights. Then, you’re going to want to have a calculator close by for the actual division and calculation of the recovery rate.  

Once you have gotten your scale, writing materials, and calculator, it’s time to start the process of calculating your recovery rate. Calibrate your scale and weigh your first piece of scrap copper wire with the casing still intact. Record this number on your piece of paper, then remove the casing of the piece of scrap copper wire. Once this has been done, put the now bare scrap copper wire back on the scale and weigh it. This is the scrap copper you will be bringing to the scrap recycling yard. Now, you can calculate your recovery rate by dividing the weight of the stripped copper wire by its overall weight. Move your decimal two numbers over to the right, and you now have the percentage of your copper wire recovery rate. Easy, right?

Types of Recovered Scrap Copper Wire 

Once you have stripped your scrap copper and calculated the recovery rate, you can now take it over to your local scrap metal yard to discuss a fair price based on the amount of wire you have and the recovery rate you found with your sample. Like we said earlier, copper is a non-ferrous metal which means that it is worth more per pound since there is no iron or steel in it. However, there are several types of copper wire that you should familiarize yourself with since this can also factor into the price and worth of your scrap copper at your local scrap yard. Not to mention, different scrap yards may only accept certain types of scrap copper as well—you don’t want all that hard work to go to waste! 

The types of scrap copper we will accept at Roane Metals Group are: MCM wire, #2 insulated wire, ballasts, spaghetti wire, house wire (Romex), transformers, and sealed units.

Information on the Types of Copper Wire

  • MCM wire is a thicker type of copper wire. It is best identified by its large diameter and multiple bundles of copper wire inside.  
  • #2 insulated copper wire is a type of copper wire with a strand that’s smaller than the lead in a standard #2 pencil—hence the name.  
  • Ballasts are a type of device typically found in most electrical units to help limit the current in their electrical circuits. They can be found when doing electrical work in homes or offices and contain a small amount of scrap copper wire.  
  • Spaghetti wire is a 10–14-gauge wire and is usually found in large, scrapped entanglements that look like, you guessed it, bowls of spaghetti noodles. 
  • Romex is a brand of wire that’s typically used in home construction, so be sure to look for it if you’re doing any remodeling or renovations to get some extra décor cash.  
  • Finally, sealed units are essentially just electric motors that are enclosed in a metal casing of some sort. They are most often found in AC units and fridges. For these, it is a state law here in Tennessee that only those who work in the HVAC industry can bring these types of units in, due to liability.  

Be sure to check out more of the different scrap metals that we accept on our website and to also familiarize yourself with your state’s laws for scrap recycling. 

Selling your Scrap Copper Wire  

After you have familiarized yourself with our several types of scrap copper, read over what your state’s laws are for scrap recycling, and calculated the recovery rate for your own scrap copper, it’s time to head over to Roane Metals Group. Since the start of our scrap metal recycling company, we have been dedicated to giving East Tennessee families and business owners the fairest price for any kind of scrap metal, and keeping our beautiful home in the valley clean and safe to live in.  

Have a high quantity of scrap copper wire that you’re looking to sell? Consider requesting our roll-away service! You will be able to sell all your scrap copper without the hassle of collecting, cleaning, and recovering your scrap copper wire. Or bring your scrap copper wire out to one of our recycling yards in Rockwood or Crossville and have one of our scrap metal experts offer you their experience and assistance with removing your scrap copper wire’s casing. If you want to help save our environment and get paid in the process of doing it, call us today for a quote at 865-354-4282 or 931-707-0907, or shoot us an email at We are ready and excited to work with you.