Copper is an essential metal that has been around for ages. In fact, humans have been using copper for more than 10,000 years. As a metal that is recycled many times, it does not degrade. It means that people could be using objects today which came from recycled copper created eons ago.
Although experts say that copper ore deposits are not likely to be exhausted for many years, recycling is still beneficial. The 700 billion pounds of copper extracted from mines throughout history are probably still used by humans today. In addition, copper recycling helps the environment significantly, as well as keeps prices down.
Importance of copper recycling
Scrap metal collectors place a high value on copper. Scrap metal recycling firms also value copper because there is a high demand for it. Moreover, copper is a non-ferrous metal and one of the best conductors of electricity. Therefore, copper recycling is vital to various sectors.
- Good for the environment
Copper provides several environmental benefits. These include natural resource conservation, reduced energy needs for the recycling process, and solid waste diversion. Likewise, recycling lowers the emission of toxic gases coming from the smelting of copper ore, which helps reduce air pollution.
- Reduces mining activities
Further, copper is a non-renewable resource. But since copper is recycled, only about 12 percent of the copper ore reserves have been used. Recycling also lessens the need to process virgin copper, which reduces the release of toxic dust and gases into the air. In fact, recycling saves about 85 percent of the energy required for mining and smelting.
- Reduces the need for landfills
Most of the copper available for recycling comes from household and commercial wastes. Since people started recycling, copper sources from household and commercial appliances no longer need to end up in landfills.
- Lower energy consumption
The energy needed to recycle copper is about 85 to 90 percent lower than processing virgin copper ore. With the lower energy consumption, manufacturers do not need to consume more fossil fuels.
- Conserves the copper ore
Even if only 12 to 13 percent of copper reserves have been mined, it is still vital to conserve the rest because copper is non-renewable. Therefore, it is not good to exhaust the supply and leave nothing to the succeeding generations.
- Cheaper processing costs
Recycling copper uses only about ten percent of the energy requirements to mine and process virgin copper ore. Nonetheless, the price of recycled copper is still relatively high, reaching up to 90 percent of the cost of original or new copper.
- Helps local economies
Copper recycling creates jobs across the country. The recycling chain involves collectors of copper scraps, cleaners, sorters, haulers, and the staff at recycling plants.
With all the benefits copper recycling provides, it’s about time you also do some copper recycling of your own. Before you throw away your old and broken electronic appliances, consider stripping away the copper-containing parts. You can even earn a profit from doing so.