Why Should You Recycle Copper?

Copper looks like a simple material often found in electrical wiring. But copper is an interesting metal. Apart from gold, copper is the only other metal whose natural color is not grey or silver. The metal is naturally reddish and shiny and has the distinction of being the first metal humans manipulated. As a result, copper remains vital in today’s industries. For example, the oldest metal object found in the Middle East was a small copper awl. 

The metal ranks third as the most consumed industrial metal in the world. The first and second are iron and aluminum. Most copper today is used to make electronics, telecommunication cables, and electrical wires.

Why is there a need to recycle copper?

The growth in emerging economies and the increased use of copper in clean and innovative energy technologies ensured the significant demand for copper. However, the copper reserves might run out in a few years. Thus, recycling copper now is critical. Copper recovery and recycling will help satisfy the demand and prevent the depletion of the copper reserves.

Copper recycling is the proper approach since the metal has a stable structure. Thus, you can recycle copper multiple times, and it will not lose its quality and inherent properties, which will still be comparable to mined copper.

Copper is essential to many industries because of its high electrical conductivity. In addition, it transmits electricity with the least possible resistance, making it the preferred material for electrical wiring for most applications. However, for overhead power transmission, the preferred metal is aluminum.

Benefits of copper recycling

Like other metals you can recycle, copper recycling provides several benefits to people, industries, and economies.

It reduces energy use and CO2 emissions

Recycling copper is an efficient way to reintroduce a valuable metal into the economy. It takes less energy to recycle the metal compared to primary production (processing mined copper). Lower energy consumption means a significant reduction in carbon dioxide emissions, thus, helping reduce air pollution.

Recovery of other metals 

Aside from the environmental benefits, copper scrap is a complex material. When recycling copper, such as electronic wastes, you can also recover other metals, such as zinc, lead, tin, nickel, silver, and gold.

Limits mining activities

The more copper is recycled, the less copper mining is needed. Mining copper involves money, fossil fuels, and time. The efforts to recycle copper ensure that the United States does not need to import copper because recycling the metal already provides about 95 percent of the domestic requirement.

Reduction of hazardous wastes

Copper refining releases dust and toxic gases into the air, contributing to air pollution. Aside from reducing air pollution, recycling reduces the amount of hazardous solid wastes left by the copper smelting process, which requires specific disposal methods.  

So, you see, copper recycling is vital, and as the demand grows, recycling will play a crucial factor in the continuous supply of copper. Recycling will also prevent the material from taking up space in landfills. Moreover, there is money to earn from recycling copper, as recycling facilities pay a fair price for copper items.

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