How to Clean Scrap Copper for Recycling

Recycling copper is not only a good way to help the environment, it is also a good way to make some extra cash. Salvage yards pay more for copper than any other metal and even a small amount has a good amount of weight since it is such a heavy metal. Copper must have the insulation removed from it in order to be recycled and most facilities will not accept copper that has not been cleaned.

Strip copper wire.
  1. Cut larger pieces of wire into manageable pieces that are a foot long.

  2. Use the wire strippers to remove the first few inches of insulation from the wire to give you something to grip.

  3. Hold the stripped end in one hand and use the utility knife to cut down the length of the wire.

  4. Peel the insulation away from the copper and discard.

  5. Cut the bare wire into smaller pieces and place in a bucket or other container.


  • Be sure to bring your identification along when taking copper to be recycled. It is necessary to help prevent theft.