If you’re just starting off in the scrap metal scene, it’s important that you learn the basics to proper scrapping. Previous blogs discussed the types of metal that’s acceptable for scrapping, how to organize your scrap and also interesting items that are often unknowingly scrap worthy. This blog will discuss a topic that many are unaware of; wire.

Did you know that burning insulated wire in the U.S. is illegal? It’s illegal due to the federal Clean Air Act due to the release of carcinogens into the air and into the ground. This is a very serious matter including a fine up to $25,000 and the possibility of five years in jail. Some may argue that burning wire is profitable, but it is definitely not worth the risk! For example that copper scrap is worth approximately 2.60 per pound and scrap insulated wire is worth $1.20 per pound, burned wire is worth $2.20 per pound… For a pile of wire that weighs under 100 lbs there’s NO worth in burning it.


If you burned 100lbs of insulated copper wire copper wire, and you end up with less than 60 pounds of burned copper, then that means you have broken even…Again, there’s no reason to burn it.


Whether it’s copper or aluminum wire, insulated wire is not to be burned, even if a scrap yard offers to buy it that way. They know it is illegal and costly, and that is why they are not burning it themselves. (DO NOT continue to work with a yard that practices unsafe and illegal exchanges.) If that doesn’t convince you, do it for your health: the last thing anyone wants to be handling is a hot tangle of carcinogenic wire. Do not get fooled into thinking that burning wire will be profitable!

At Upstate Metal Recycling we take great pride in taking your collected scrap metal. If you’re interested in recycling your own scrap, bring it to Upstate! We’ll recycle your scrap while giving you the best price in exchange! Upstate Metal Recycling will take your steel, aluminum, brass, copper, electric wire, cars, shingles, etc. You can even ‘Like’ them on Facebook for a coupon on your next visit to the yard.

  1. andrew says:

    One of the best work for the environment is recycling the things and make it for reuse…well said..

    Scrap Yards in Detroit

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