Precious and non-ferrous metals are found all over the world, and are used in a variety of industries; from jewelry to electronics, to aerospace and countless others in between. Recycling discarded and scrap metal has become increasingly important, due to the growing demand for supply of these useful metals, and the growing demand for sustainable practices as well.
Non-ferrous metals are metals and metal alloys that are not iron-based and non-magnetic. These metals are used extensively for a variety of industrial purposes. Copper, nickel, brass, zinc, tin and aluminum are all common examples of non-ferrous metals. Precious metals, including gold, silver and platinum, are non-ferrous as well.
Non-ferrous metals are highly durable, relatively valuable and can be processed and refined indefinitely without degrading, making them excellent candidates for recycling.
In industrial and private settings alike, the benefits of recycling metals fall under two main categories: environmental and financial.
Recycling any material, including non-ferrous metals, is a key contribution to greater sustainability efforts. Because metals are finite resources, the ability to extract “new” metals from the earth is finite as well. Recycling allows for the same supply of metal to be refined, purified, and re-purposed, without additional extraction - which is energy-intensive, as well as expensive. Recycling metals can be up to 90% more energy-efficient than mining new metal ore.
Recycling non-ferrous metals, such as copper, is especially important in the modern day because a variety of technologies rely on them to function, and technology is being upgraded and replaced increasingly often. This means metals like ones found in discarded TVs and computers are frequently bound for landfills. Even the smallest scraps of metal can be recycled instead of thrown away.
Not only is the supply of metals finite, and the energy cost of mining metals high, but the effects of discarded metals like copper entering into the soil can be detrimental to the environment, negatively impacting surrounding wildlife and plantlife. Copper does not deteriorate easily, so its effects linger in the environment. The process of mining metals also releases various dangerous gasses into the atmosphere, making recycling the most environmentally friendly option overall when it comes to metal production.
Copper is one of the most financially lucrative metals to recycle, with a value of approximately 80-95% of that of newly mined copper ore. Because it is a 100% recyclable material, it loses very little value, as its integrity does not decrease with processing.
Different qualities of copper hold different values, with bare bright copper being the most valuable; however, most recycling centers compensate for copper of various kinds, including copper alloys.
One of the most common sources of recycled copper is copper wire, which is found in abundance in industrial environments. Copper is highly conductive, and therefore, commonly used in electrical wiring. Often, pieces that are too small, impure, or otherwise imperfect for use are discarded. Faulty and aging wiring is also commonly replaced. These non-useful pieces accumulate over time, which translates to considerable financial benefit when recycled.
Because the recycling of copper has proven to be lucrative, the amount of copper mining has decreased considerably in recent decades. Industries that use copper extensively are also growing quickly in the modern-day. In turn, the demand for recycled copper is high, which is shown in its steadily increasing market value. Some experts project the value of copper to reach an unheard of $20,000 per metric ton within the next 5-10 years.
Copper recycling is done by visiting a local recycling center or scrap yard that accepts copper scrap. Collected scrap is sorted, assessed, weighed and compensated for at the center, where it will go on to be melted down, separated from other metals and purified for re-use. Sometimes, recycling centers will pick up large quantities of scrap metal for a fee.
Insulated copper wire is one of the most commonly recycled copper materials in the U.S. today. Electrical wiring in homes and commercial buildings is commonly replaced as it ages, leading to an abundance of scrap copper wire. Insulation should be stripped from wires before recycling, though some facilities are now equipped with machines that will strip the wires as a part of the sorting process. Wires that have been stripped or sorted from clean wires ahead of time will typically yield the most financial return.
Many different industries use copper as raw material, making scrap copper common on work sites. Electrical wires, plumbing and automotive parts are all common sources of scrap copper.
These pieces can be collected from work sites, recycled and reinvested into the company’s resources. Some companies will also sell their scrap to buyers, who purchase large amounts from many sources and go on to recycle it for a profit later.
Many other non-industrial sources of scrap copper can be found for recycling for profit as well. Automotive yards, landfills and old houses are common sites where scrap copper is abundant. Copper can be found in old roofing and plumbing, appliances and electronics, cookware, bicycles and countless other commonly discarded goods. Home renovations often lead to scrap copper, as do home demolitions. Some buyers will even source copper goods from auctions, antique stores and flea markets to recycle for a profit later.
Recycling facilities that process metals are incredibly common these days, and there is likely a facility near you. The easiest way to find a facility is to search a phone book or online directory for scrap yards or recycling centers in your city. Be sure that the facility you choose accepts copper and compensates fairly, and ask if the scrap must be cleaned or sorted beforehand.
Recycling copper is a financially lucrative, environmentally friendly practice that is projected to increase in popularity and value in the future. Industries and individuals alike can find benefits from recycling scrap copper wire and other scrap metals.
Majestic Corporation has been a leading precious metals recyclers, non-ferrous metals and Catalytic converter provider for around five decades. With a presence in the United States, United Kingdom, Malaysia, Italy, Mexico, Australia, Hong Kong and more, as well as a network of precious metals refineries around the world, we work with major customers and partners in a transparent and discrete manner and only offer the highest quality services at competitive prices.
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