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NewsHome > News >

Life Cycles and Resources of Copper Scrap

Time:2017-07-28 20:50 Author:Suny Group

The availability of secondary copper is closely related with the quantity of copper consumed and product life cycles. Many estimates for life cycles have been made for individual products. Life cycles of products may even vary from country to country according to construction methods and concepts.

However, copper in electrical plants and machinery generally has been estimated to average 30 years; in nonelectrical machinery, 15 years; in housing, 45 years; and, in transportation, 10 years. The average useful life for copper products is said to be about 25 years before being scrapped and entering the market as scrap. It ‘s not hard to visualize that copper being recovered today is from scrapped items that were produced for use about 25 years ago if keep these longevity measures in mind.

On the other hand, manufacturing scrap has a short life of about 30 days, and domestic manufacturing rates and efficiencies limit its recovery. The rate of copper consumption in the United States and the world has more than doubled since the 1960s. Scrap copper has made up more than 40% of annual U.S. copper consumption over most of this period, only dropping below 40% since 1993. Scrap comprised only 30% of total U.S. copper consumption in 2007.

Though copper is one of the most recycled of metals, some still enters solid waste disposal sites. Copper that is not recovered from end-use products may be placed into three categories: (1) still in use, or buried (2) solid waste disposal (3) dissipated and lost. Recovery of copper from the first two categories is always possible with adequate technology. Copper has few applications that are dissipative in nature, such as in chemicals, paints and some powders. It has been estimated that in 1970 only 0.5% of total copper consumed was lost and not retrievable. Most copper is used in some metal form, easily recognizable and easily recoverable.

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