In copper recycling, copper and copper alloys have been recycled for so many years. For instance, in the middle ages, it was common that after world war the bronze cannons were melted down to make more useful items. In times of war, even church bells were used to produce cannons.
The copper and copper alloy industry was dependent on the economic recycling of surplus products.
There is a wide range of copper-based materials made for a very large variety of applications.
To use the most suitable and cheapest feedstock for making components that gives the most economic cost price for the material.
So many times we might be wondering what copper recycling means and its process, so in this article, we are going to be looking at what recycling means and how we can recycle copper.
Recycling is simply the process of creating things that have already been used so that they can be used again.
Copper can simply be seen as an element or mineral that is important for our everyday life.
According to researchers, copper is considered a key industrial metal due to its resistance to corrosion, electrical and thermal conductivity, and high ductility.
Copper can be recyclable, we can indeed recycle copper. Copper recycling is very very important and valuable.
Copper came into use according to some researchers in dates back more than 10,000 years. It was during those days that they discovered that copper can be recycled.
Most people see copper recycling as a very difficult something, and this was due to the complexity of the recycling process.
There are different ways and important methods for recycling copper and once you understand how the process works, you will come to know and value the importance of your recycling efforts.
Now the process of recycling copper starts from when you begin to gather copper scraps and items that contain copper around you.
When you have collected the copper scrap(s), the next step now is separating the copper i.e. sorting afterwards the sorted copper scraps can be taken to any copper recycling center.
There are so many machines that can be used to recycle copper like the copper granulator and stripping machine for copper.
The main machine for processing copper is dependent on the type of copper like single wires and copper cable before the copper is then sent to another facility for melting.
Now copper recycling gives well significant benefits to society and the environment together with the reduction in the energy required for conserving resources, processing, and lowering the amount of solid waste that is sent to landfills.
Let’s take a look at some considerable statistics;
1. Copper is not renewable as a resources
2. Almost 12 percent of all copper reserves have been consumed.
3. 80 to 90 percent of the production of domestic copper is from just 20 mines.
4. 80 to 90 percent less energy is normally required for copper recycling than new copper processing.
5. In Montana, New Mexico, Arizona, Utah is where copper is usually mined in the United States.
It is however important to note that environmental challenges can be a hindrance to copper recycling. Is not just you understanding the value of recycled copper now, another important thing is that you need to know the different grades.
These grades are directly correlated to the importance and value of the copper.
Just like the Bare Bright copper is the best most valuable grade copper, researchers have made us know that the name “bare bright” is derived or coined from its bright and bare appearance.
They have also made it known that this particular grade must not be mixed or combined with any other metal including zinc or tin.
Important Benefits of Copper Recycling
Let us take a good look at the benefits of copper recycling because copper that we have known is 100 percent recyclable with different and numerous benefits.
Some of the important benefits of copper recycling include;
1. Copper is finite, meaning recycling conserves copper ore and copper recycling lowers the energy necessary to produce copper by up to 80 to 85 percent
2. The more you recycle your copper, the more you protect the environment by decreasing the need for mining and refining copper, as well as we all know that mining and refining require energy and a lot of time.
Also in the process of refining the copper, it releases some toxic gases which include sulphur dioxide and dusts into the environment.
3. It is cheaper than mining and extracting new copper
4. Copper recycling lowers the cost of landfills because when your copper is not recycled, it takes up space in the landfills.
5. Like stated earlier it minimizes toxins that are released into our environment at large.
6. Also low energy is required compared to refining new copper.
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One more interesting thing about copper is that copper can be recycled into the following;
– The production of industrial machinery and vehicles
– It can be recycled into copper wiring plumbing
– It can be recycled into heating and cooling systems
– It can also be recycled into telecommunication links that are usually used in businesses and homes.
– It serves as essential components in motors, wiring, brakes, bearings used in trucks and cars, connectors, and also radiators.
According to researchers, it has been estimated that since 1900 two- thirds of 550 million tonnes of copper that are produced are still in productive use.
Almost 60-70 percent of copper produced worldwide is used for communications, electrical, and conductivity applications.
It has been made clear that copper has the highest electrical conductivity of any metal at all but apart from silver.
This property has made copper now the material of choice that is in power generation and transmission that is used in delivering electricity safely and accurately to businesses and homes.
In conclusion, copper is one of the materials that we can recycle often and often without any loss of performance.
Also, there is no difference at all in the quality of copper that has been recycled i.e. secondary copper, and copper that has been mined i.e., primary copper.
Copper recycling helps in a progressive move toward a more circular economy.
Therefore the circle cannot be closed completely because the demand will always continue to increase due to population growth and economic development also copper stays in use for a very long time (decades) before it is ready to be recycled and use again.
For some past decades now, up to about 30-35 percent of annual copper used came from recycled sources.
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