In all metal recycling, copper is one of the most used and reused materials of all. Metals like steel and aluminium are well-known for their ability to be recycled but copper is just as useful in this regard. Approximately 700 million tons of copper have been dug out of the ground around the world and there is plenty more copper ore that could be mined. However, because there is so much copper already in use in recyclable products, it does not need to be mined intensively. Instead, the world can largely cope with its copper demand from recycled sources. What are they and how is copper turned from scrap metal into a reusable one?
Copper is used in alloys and brasses but it is also widely used in a relatively pure state. This is because the metal has certain qualities that make it ideal for some product types. For example, copper is widely used for kitchenware because it has anti-microbial properties. Taps and worktops are often made from it in professional kitchens, for instance. However, when such products reach the end of their working lives, they can be melted down from their scrap metal source and easily repurposed. The same goes for copper wiring. Because copper is a good conductor of electricity, it has been used for both power distribution cables and for telecommunications wiring. When it is no longer needed, all that scrap metal merchants need to do is to remove it from its plastic sheathing. Even stranded copper wires can be recycled without too many difficulties into new wires for the electronics industry.
Brass is an alloy of copper and zinc. Copper that is to be recycled in the form of brass can be extracted. However, there is a high energy cost associated with the separation of the two metallic elements in brass. Consequently, most scrapped brass remains as brass when it is recycled. After all, there are plenty of uses that brass can be put to without going to the time or trouble of separating out its constituent components. Typically, scrapped brass will be made into sheets or strands that industries in various sectors can make use of.
Other Copper Alloys
Copper that has been scrapped in other alloy forms are still useful. Scrap metal of this kind will usually be stored until it is available in sufficient quantities for it to be reused. This will involve melting it down so that new ingots can be made. Electrolytically refining alloys sometimes takes place to either improve their purity or to extract the pure copper from the alloy itself.
If you have copper reach out to a company like ADL Metal Pty Ltd that offers metal recycling.