The Economic Importance of Copper Recycling
Ranking immediately behind Chile in copper production, the United States is largely self-sufficient in copper supply. The U.S. produces roughly 8 percent of the world’s copper generation. Almost half of U.S. copper output comes from recycled material, however. In 2010, U.S. recyclers processed 1.8 million metric tons of copper for domestic use and export, second only to aluminum among nonferrous metals, which saw 4.6 million tonnes recycled.
Slightly over one-half or recycled copper scrap is new scrap recovery including chips and machine turnings, with the rest being old post-consumer scraps such as electrical cable, old radiators, and plumbing tube.