Teaching Families About The Benefits Of Recycling

« Back to Home

How Does Copper Recycling Work?

Posted on

You may have heard vaguely about copper recycling. You probably even know that copper can be recycled without any loss at all- much like aluminum. It's often used in electrical components, as it has excellent conductive properties. You may even live in a state where stealing copper is a larger offense than stealing something the same size of equal value for another material- because copper retains it's worth so well, it can be a target for thieves.

But what do you know about the actual process of recycling copper?

Well, it's become popular because mining is in decline, for several reasons. Mining is dangerous and can be harmful to the environment, so many people feel it's better to try to make use of what has already been mined, rather than continuing to plunder the earth for materials that are already extant and usable.

If you have somehow gotten your hands on a lot of scrap copper and are looking to recycle it, but don't want to get that involved, you can look into people who collect scrap for a living, who may be willing to pay you a reasonable amount of money to take that copper off your hands. There are also scrap yards who will pay you for it, generally by the pound.

Copper recycling generally starts with examining the copper to ensure it's of the quality that they want. (And is, in fact, copper and not a close facsimile.)

Next, the copper is generally chopped up or shredded into small bits. The size of the bits tends to vary, there's different choppers for different applications. Also, the business or person who is doing the process of recycling copper may have a specific end goal in mind for what the copper will be, and will use a chopper that will generally get the rough shape they want. Then the copper bits will generally be separated by density and size. This can help with the process of ensuring that the end product copper is pure copper, as most alloys have different densities. Many recycling places will also have a proprietary process where they further refine the chopped bits for purity. This can vary, but likely includes a magnet to remove ferrous materials, as well as visual examination to remove clearly non-copper materials.

Finally, the copper is melted and cast into the new shape. Most places will turn out rods that can be used for creating wire, just because that's such a common use for copper.