Copper – The World’s Most Reusable Resource
For nearly 5,000 years, copper was the only metal known to man. Today, it’s one of the most used and reused of our “modern” metals. Look closely at the next penny you see and consider these bright facts about copper:
- The copper on that penny maybe as old as the pharaohs, because copper has an infinite recyclable life. Copper, by itself or in any of its alloys, such as brass or bronze, is used over and over again.
- Copper was first used by humans more than 10,000 years ago. A copper pendant discovered in what is now northern Iraq has been dated about 8700 B.C.
- Known worldwide copper resources are estimated at nearly 5.8 trillion pounds of which only about 0.7 trillion pounds (12%) have been mined throughout history… and nearly all of that is still in circulation, because copper’s recycling rate is higher than that of any other engineering metal.
- Each year in the U.S.A., nearly as much copper is recovered from recycled material as is derived from newly mined ore… and when you exclude wire production, most of which uses newly refined copper, the amount of copper used by copper and brass mills, ingot makers, foundries, powder plants and other industries shows that nearly three-fourths (72%) comes from recycled copper scrap.
- More then half of this scrap is “new” scrap, such as chips and turnings from screw machine production… the remainder is “old” scrap, such as discarded electric cable, junked automobile radiators or even ancient Egyptian plumbing.
- Copper’s recycling value is so great that premium-grade scrap normally has at least 95% of the value of the primary metal from newly mined ore.
- According to Andy Kireta Sr, president of the Copper Development Association Inc., “Our ability to reuse copper extracted from recycled product is a tribute to an industry that’s environmentally conscious regarding its use of natural resources on behalf of consumers.”
- The U.S. does not depend on foreign copper… we are completely self-sufficient.
Read more on the reusable resource by visiting CDA’s website at copper.org