How to Burn Copper Wire

Updated February 21, 2017

Copper wiring is used to conduct electricity. It is found in a variety of appliances, from heating and cooling systems to other household electronics. Burning copper wire is one method to remove the plastic sheathing or insulation from the valuable copper wire. The copper wire can then be recycled. It is illegal in some areas to burn copper wire, so be sure to check local laws beforehand. Burning the insulation off copper wire also gives off fumes that may pollute the environment and be harmful if inhaled.

Gather copper wire together into a burn pile away from any buildings, trees or other possible obstructions.

Light the fire and stand back. Keep a good distance away from the fire to prevent from breathing in the potentially hazardous fumes.

Allow the copper wire to burn until all the plastic coating has been burnt off. Be careful not to scorch or damage the copper wire itself, or it may not be taken in for recycling.

Let the copper completely cool. Use heavy-duty work gloves to handle the wire once it has been burnt in case there are still some hot spots and to avoid direct contact with the skin.

Gather up all the copper scraps and take them to a local recycling centre to be recycled.

Things You'll Need

  • Copper wire
  • Open-fire pit away from trees, brush and building structures
  • Heavy-duty work gloves
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About the Author

Amanda Ballard Coates is a Certified Professional Coder (CPC) and a member of the American Association of Professional Coders. She is also a freelance writer and photographer. She writes mostly nonfiction and has been published on several informative websites. Ballard Coates' writing has been published on websites such as,, and