Copper Recycling

Copper is among the few materials that do not degrade or lose their chemical or physical properties in the recycling process. Considering this, the existing copper reservoir in use can be considered a legitimate part of world copper reserves. In recent decades, an increasing emphasis has been placed on the sustainability of material uses in which the concept of use and recycling of metals plays an important role in the material choice and acceptance of products. If appropriately managed, recycling has the potential to extend the use of resources, and to minimize energy use, emissions, and waste disposal.

Closing metal loops through increased reuse and recycling enhances the overall resource productivity and therefore represents one of the key elements of society’s transition towards more sustainable production and consumption patterns. It is widely recognized that recycling is not in opposition to primary metal production, but is a necessary and beneficial complement.

ICSG undertakes continued work on copper recycling:

  • Regular regional/country studies (see publications’ Order Form)
  • ICSG Annual Recyclables Survey that aims at assessing total copper scrap use, and at calculating the corresponding Recycling Input Rate (RIR). The RIR measures the proportion of metal and metal products that are produced from scrap (presented each year at ICSG April meeting and summary charts published in the Factbook)
  • ICSG publishes in its Copper Factbook the Industry Global Flows of Copper and Derived Recycling Rates, produced for the International Copper Association by the Fraunhofer Institute
  • ICSG publishes in its Monthly Copper Bulletin country data for secondary smelter and refined production (from scrap) as well as data for copper scrap trade

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