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Town Drunk
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At what point do you consider a piece of wire scrap?

A week ago, I came in the shop in the AM, and saw a box with a bunch of romex in it. I mean 20', 30' lengths of wire. Someone had been collecting it as "scrap". To me (and the boss) this isn't scrap, it's usable wire.

I would call any 14-2 or 12-2 longer than, say, 3' usable. Jump recess cans, switch-to-recep, etc. 14-3, might need a little longer to be usable. 12-3, #10, can't do too much with stuff that short.

If you are the "boss" (owner, foreman, etc) have you been checking your guys to see if there is any deliberate wastage so they can scrap?
 

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Caught an EX-employee ordering extra lengths, cutting it into 2' sections and skinning it all on company time a triple screw job....Oh and he was coming in late late and leaving early to get to the scrap yard before it closed quadruple screw job.
 

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At what point do you consider a piece of wire scrap?

A week ago, I came in the shop in the AM, and saw a box with a bunch of romex in it. I mean 20', 30' lengths of wire. Someone had been collecting it as "scrap". To me (and the boss) this isn't scrap, it's usable wire.

I would call any 14-2 or 12-2 longer than, say, 3' usable. Jump recess cans, switch-to-recep, etc. 14-3, might need a little longer to be usable. 12-3, #10, can't do too much with stuff that short.

If you are the "boss" (owner, foreman, etc) have you been checking your guys to see if there is any deliberate wastage so they can scrap?
As you mention John it depends on the type of wire and the length. To me any romex would be scrap since we don't use it. I do mostly control work and often I keep the end of spools of stranded wire for work inside control boxes and small box to box runs. I get ribbed about being a pack rat with the stuff. I keep an eye on the guys under me but keep the apprentices happy with the extra cash.
 

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At what point do you consider a piece of wire scrap?
As soon as it's obvious someone is throwing it away.If it's in the dumpster, it's scrap, so if you want to go dumspter diving, feel free.

20-30 foot lengthts of NM are very usable. Switch legs to lights, between kitchen receps, from the smokies in the bedrooms to the one in the hallway.....

Personally, I have two large garbage cans of such 'scrap' that I seem to keep taking from one resi job to the next.

AFAIC, it belongs to whoever paid for it. If that person tells me I can have it, then I will scrap or use it.

Edit to add:
My first 3 years as an apprentice I worked for an outfit that required all employees to take all the scraps to the shop for recycling. The funds obtained from this effort went into the company Christmas party. It made the difference between having ham or chicken, and steaks.
 

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I am actually pleased to see dumpster divers pulling the scrap out. This recycling lessens impact on landfills and keeps copper where it should be in the market place.
 

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When I'm slinging NM I save every scrap for pig tales on the rec. Sometimes I'm working in some not so good area's of Phila. There are guy's with shopping cart's all over digging in dumpster's for anything that has value. I put several pieces of MC next to the dumpster to see how long it would last. When I saw my apprentice I told him to keep an eye on it. We walked to the door to show him and it was gone, about 20 min. Every aluminum hand hole cover on all the street lights are gone in the whole city. All the brass caps on the fire hose hook up's on the side of the buildings are gone.
 

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Yeah use to say throw it out the door and it won't hit the ground. BUt it is not scrap till I say so...I bought it I own it, that includes copper being pulled out to upgrade...
 

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Yeah, now that prices are way up, the shop insists on having all copper sent back to the office. Anything old cable that is pulled out is the customers, but most of the time they don't really want it. Some want a cut though! (only fair.)
 

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I heard the rumors from many people,that one foreman from our company took and recycled $25000, yes 25K worth of "scrap" wire, mostly big staff 350 mcm and larger. He got caught and hand slapped by the company, but not fired. He was warned if he does it agane they would turn him in hands of justice. That guy is a biggest jerk too, as many say.
 

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Town Drunk
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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I heard the rumors from many people,that one foreman from our company took and recycled $25000, yes 25K worth of "scrap" wire, mostly big staff 350 mcm and larger. He got caught and hand slapped by the company, but not fired. He was warned if he does it agane they would turn him in hands of justice. That guy is a biggest jerk too, as many say.
Did he have to pay them back?

I do agree with Brian, who buys it, owns it.

I did a pier job last year, and due to the copper prices fluctuating, they made the customer pay directly to the supply house. He gave me the scrap - told me "You did the work, take it" and told my boss (who didn't like it) "I paid for it, I'll give it to whomever I like"

What the company buys, I turn in. If they say I can take it, I will.
 

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oh well ...

Former forman got spotted coming out of scrap yard, he and boss where both fired, the wire was to be returned to the company. I've heard local firms are watching who's recycling... Darn I got a pile going, I guess I'll need to cash it in for some of the expense of Christmas ... wheres the knife sharpener... and no I'm no a Copper head...
 

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When I was a young apprentice, my apprentice buddy and myself got very interested in the rolled up piles of used 500 and 750 MCM. We were on a library overhaul. It was all located on the second floor. We devised a plan to roll the wire to the edge of the building slab and drop it into the back of his ElCamino. The first roll fell hard, but landed right in the back of the vehicle. The second roll fell hard and busted through the bed and dislocated the transmission from the drive shaft. With no other recourse I called my boss and told him what we had done.
When he arrived, he looked at the mess and said some words that cannot be repeated here.
He then drove both of us home and told us not to come back. After about 3 days he did forgive us and we were reinstated. Talk about luck and a man who was able to forgive. I learned a valuble lesson that week.
 

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Years ago we had 2 apprentices on a government job stealing copper. Big 8' lengths of 250 to 750. We sat them down and told them to knock it off, but they decided not to. That night or the next they were caught as they drove off the job. They were ratholing it below the trailer they were living in. They lost their jobs, got tossed out of the apprentice program and were damn lucky not to get federal charges filed against them since it was a government job.
 
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