Copper is used in many of the items that we work with on a daily basis. Nearly every electronics device, from household appliances to computers, utilizes copper in one manner or another. Building wiring, power cords and the electrical systems in vehicles also contain copper. Quite simply, copper is everywhere.
With so much copper in our environment, it makes a lot of sense to recycle it. Recycling provides us with the ability to reuse nearly all of the copper that has already been mined. Recycling copper is also less expensive that mining it. Another benefit of recycling copper is the minimal impact that it has on our environment when compared to the mining process. Copper’s recycling rate is also higher than other engineered metals.
In the United States alone, almost as much copper is reclaimed by recycling as is mined. Good sources of recycled copper are from post-consumer scrap that is recovered from items such as electrical cable, air conditioners, car radiators and plumbing pipe. Recycling copper also brings with it a monetary incentive. Recycled copper is worth almost 90% of the cost of newly refined copper. This fact alone makes it a very valuable metal to recycling plants.
From an environmental standpoint, recycling copper provides an excellent way to minimize the impact we have on our environment. Recycling one tonne of copper uses only 15% of the amount of energy that mining it would require. This reduces carbon dioxide emissions by limiting the use of fossil fuels that are needed in the mining and refining process. Secondarily, when copper is recycled, there is a reduction on the amount of waste that is placed in landfills. Disposal of waste in landfills is also a very expensive option. Reducing landfill waste also reduces those costs.
Copper recycling is a huge industry and as such provides jobs. This in turn helps the economy. The demand for copper will either continue to be stable or rise because of its many uses. If we recycle copper at a high rate, more jobs will be produced as this industry grows. Recycling copper provides direct and indirect positive impacts on the environment and the economy. For these reasons it makes a lot of sense to recycle copper.
Recycling copper is one of the easiest ways to make a bit of extra income. It helps the environment by reducing CO2 emissions and landfill waste and helps provide jobs. Ultimately, everyone benefits from recycling items that contain copper.