All you need to know about Copper Recycling

Copper has many amazing properties, but one of the most important is that it doesn’t degrade after multiple rounds of recycling.  Recycling scrap copper can reduce the energy input and amount of emissions as compared to when metal is extracted from its ore. This way, recycling helps in conservation of our natural resources.

Copper is the least abundant metal to exist in nature, making it a valuable resource for recyclers. This is the main reason why scrap copper prices are high all the time. There are several commercial metal recyclers available in almost all the cities and towns across Australia, who buy scrap at the market price. Read on to know more about copper recycling.

Why recycle copper?

Copper in its original form or in any of its alloys is completely recyclable and can be easily recycled over and over again with no loss of quality. Around 3/4th of all copper-based products are manufactured using recycled copper, excluding copper wire production that requires freshly refined copper.

The process of copper recycling can reduce the emissions and energy output, as compared to mining, milling, smelting and refining of fresh copper material. It is a wastage of natural as well as economic resources if scrap copper is dumped in a landfill. You might want to know that recycled copper worths up to 90% of the fresh copper price.

What happens when copper is recycled?

Firstly, scrap copper is inspected and graded when it is brought to recycling unit. Scrap material is melted and, in some cases, refined and purified while it is still in molten state. Chemical analysis checks the purity level of the copper, and the molten copper is then casted into appropriate shape for further processing.

Copper alloy scrap has to be segregated, kept clean and identified so that the alloying elements and impurity content of each batch are known. After that, copper alloys are melted together into batches of known composition, some with virgin material.

Advantages of copper recycling

In the process of mining and refining of copper, a lot of dust and waste gases like sulphur dioxide are also produced, which tend to damage the environment severely. This can be minimised by capturing sulphur dioxide and utilizing it to prepare sulphuric acid

Copper and copper alloy objects that are not recycled are normally dumped in landfills. This may lead to scarcity of landfills and it may become a very costly method of waste disposal in the future
Around 100 GJ/tonne of energy is needed in order to extract copper from copper ore. Whereas, the entire process of copper recycling requires a very less amount of energy, just around 10 percent of it. This energy saving leads to the conservation of valuable reserves of oil, gas or coal, as well as decreases the amount of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere

Till today’s date, just around 12 percent of the known copper resources have been mined. However, copper ore is a limited resource and should definitely be recycled

It is relatively cheaper to recycle old copper rather than to mine and extract fresh copper. Even recycled copper worths as much as 90 percent of the cost of original copper. Recycling also helps in keeping the cost of copper products low

This post was sponsored by Sydney Copper; copper image from PixaBay

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