The copper inside your power cords can be a surprisingly valuable resource and can be sold at your local recycling center or scrap yard. Given the multiple uses of copper, its price remains relatively high; with a little bit of work, you can capitalize on that price and contribute to local recycling efforts by stripping your wire and turning in the copper. Most recycling centers heavily discount payments for non-stripped power cords, but you can receive the full price for your copper by turning in pure copper wire.
Cut off the extension ends off your power cords. Using a wire cutter, cut off the tips of your power cord to remove the extensions and leave only the copper wire and protective coating.
Strip your wire. Using wire strippers, strip off the protective coating piece by piece until you have removed all of the protective coating and leave only solid copper wire.
Remove bits of copper that have been burned. If you are recycling a cord that has suffered damage, use the wire cutters to separate any burned sections of copper. You can also turn in these portions for recycling, but the price will be lower and you can get the full price for the remaining copper by separating the two types yourself.
Take your copper to the local recycling center or scrap yard and turn it in for cash. Be sure to check the latest price of copper to make sure you are receiving a fair price. See the resource section for a good metal-pricing resource.
If you have a lot of wire, you can also cut the protective coating vertically along the entire length of the wire with a box cutter and then peel it back to remove the copper wire. This process can be faster, but also somewhat dangerous if your box cutter slips, so only use it if you are pressed for time and have a lot of wire to process.
Ask your local recycling center or scrap yard what their policy is on copper wire. Centers with wire cutting machines may not discount the price of copper wire with insulation still on it, so be sure you are not doing any extra work before turning in your wire. In some cases, you may just need to separate your wire by type or weight.
Make sure the power cord is disconnected and no longer has a charge before attempting to cut or strip it.
- Power Cords image by Towards Ithaca from Fotolia.com