Is Wire Biodegradable?

  • By: greenorb
  • Date: May 7, 2022
  • Time to read: 6 min.

Do you have a type of wire that you fear won’t biodegrade?

There are numerous types of wires, and almost all of them are non-biodegradable – it has to do with the nature of the metals they are made of. 

For instance, electric wires don’t biodegrade because they are copper or aluminum. 

Let’s talk about the biodegradability of wires and how to get rid of them. 

Is Wire a Recycled Material?

A wire might be a recycled material. This is so because wires are made from metals like copper, aluminum, zinc, etc. 

Most metals can be recycled multiple times without losing their properties. In fact, copper and aluminum are among the most recycled metals worldwide. 

This also explains why scrap metal still holds value and why companies are always willing to pay a premium to have them in their recycling streams. 

Manufacturers use both recycled metal and pure metal to make wires. 

The latter is obtained directly from the ore, while the former is usually drawn from existing metals. 

Your typical wire can be recycled repeatedly or reused to create new wires or other metallic products. 

You could be using recycled wires without your knowledge, but that doesn’t matter. Unlike plastics, metals don’t lose their value after repurposing. 

However, always ensure that you get what you pay for – the virgin metal tends to be more expensive than recycled metal. 

Can Wires Go In the Bin?

No, it would help if you didn’t dump your wires in the recycle bin. If you can, take them to a safe recycling center so that they can be used to make new wires or other stuff. 

If you put them in the bin, they might get tangled when sorting, causing injuries and damage. 

Wires should be given preferential care even when they have outlived their usefulness. Remember, some wires may contain harmful substances such as lead and should therefore not end up in a landfill. 

If you have unwanted wires or cables idly lying around, figure out how to get rid of them in a safe way. 

How Do You Dispose Of Wires

Electronic wastes can clutter up your home and make it ugly. Wires are some of the e-wastes I’m talking about. 

They are considered e-waste because they are part of electrical systems and appliances. 

Here is how you can dispose of old or faulty wires:


Recycling is among the best waste disposal methods. With the world struggling to attain a green, cleaner environment, it’s always good to divert as much waste as possible from landfills to the recycling chamber.

Recycling wires involves sorting, repurposing, and reusing them to create new wires or other materials. 

If you recycle wires, you will spend a few bucks improving their value. Also, you won’t need to buy new raw materials to create new wires. 

More importantly, you will greatly reduce the number of wastes in the landfills. 

If you think recycling wires isn’t valuable, think about the problem of pollution. The World Health Organization recently warned that soaring e-waste pollution puts lives at risk. 

The report further indicates that e-wastes expose humans to over a thousand toxins, including mercury and lead. 

Fortunately, recycling ensures we don’t produce more toxic substances but instead use what we already have. 


Unless you are dealing with electrical wires, it’s important to reuse old wires. 

The problem with electrical wires is most of them are fixed, and their insulation wears over time. Fixed wires are designed to be twisted or flexed excessively. 

Assuming you are dealing with cables and ordinary copper or aluminum wires, one of the best things you can do is use them in your DIY projects

Reusing doesn’t truly rid your home of this old stuff, but it helps you get a little creative with what you own. 

You may use the wires to join wire mesh or even make basket cases – there are many things to make out of wires. 


Not everyone is fortunate enough to keep upgrading gadgets and other electronics. 

That’s why you and your friends share phone chargers and computers whenever you hang out together. 

Before you throw away a USB cable you no longer use, see who among your friends or family would need it. 

If you have the newest models of cables, you don’t have to think too much about who to give them to. It will help if they are in good condition because you want them to help the recipient. 

Alternatively, you may donate them. Wires are incredibly useful materials for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics students. 

Schools are always looking for these and other supplies so it might be a good option for you. To get started with donating the wires or cables, search the internet for STEM programs to find potential recipients of your items. 


Do you ever find value in the trash? Someone might be willing to pay you for your old wires, especially if they are in good condition. 

Think about the crafty guy in your hood who uses old wires to make sculptures or wall hangings. If you have ornamental wire coated with precious minerals, you’re likely to make more money than you think. 

Also, it would be best if you tried buy-sell websites like Craigslist. There you’ll find people looking for things, including used wires. 

If you choose this route, use pricing as your selling point because the online market is so competitive, just like the traditional marketplace. 

Apart from Craigslist, try BestBuy. These centers buy your stuff or offer you a trade-in option. I just checked their website, and they say that they accept wires, cables, cords, and rechargeable batteries. 

Thermal Treatment

Thermal treatment aims at converting wastes into electricity and heat energy. The process usually reduces waste mass by over 90% during incineration and is a good disposal method for areas with a land shortage. 

It’s a good way to get rid of toxic waste. Remember, most wires and cables contain harmful substances that threaten lives and health.  

The advantage of thermal treatment is that it converts waste into usable energy, regardless of the ambient weather. 

Its disadvantage is that it isn’t an efficient disposal method, especially if you have little waste. 

Sanitary Landfill

A Sanitary landfill, or landfill, is usually a massive pit with a protective layer. 

The advantage of sanitary landfills is that they’re designed to accommodate all wastes, including wires and toxic materials.

Traditionally, these pits were dug in areas with non-porous soil to prevent excessive leaching of chemicals into the surrounding areas. 

The advantage of landfills is they have protective layers for gas and water collection. But they are outdated because they don’t solve the waste problem 100%. 

They provide you a good place to dump your wires, especially if there aren’t other alternatives. 

Final Thoughts

Wires are hardly biodegradable because they are made to last many years. 

Others, like electrical wires, are supposed to withstand weather extremes without rusting or wearing out. 

Most of them are made of non-biodegradable materials like copper and aluminum, so they are not likely to biodegrade soon. 

However, those made of zinc or magnesium are biodegradable but aren’t as strong as electrical wires. 

Given that most wires contain toxic substances and don’t biodegrade, the best way to get rid of them is by recycling, reusing, selling, or giving them away to friends or as a donation. 

Dumping in the landfill isn’t a good waste disposal method because it isn’t eco-friendly.

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