Businesses and households recycle their paper, card and packaging routinely, but might pay less attention to recycling copper products. Copper is present in electrical cables, computers, washing machines, cookers, plumbing pipes and taps. It can be a by-product of alloy manufacture as well.
Copper is among the most traded items, next to gold and oil. However, its natural supply is running out. Since the start of the 20th century, 95% of the copper supply has been extracted from mines. This makes copper recycling more important than ever.
Copper mining produces sulphur dioxide, which is bad for the health and the environment. It is taken up by clouds, causing acid rain and soil erosion. The polluted soil damages natural habitats of animals and inhibits plant growth. It can affect farmers’ crops and ultimately, the human food chain. Breathing in the contaminated air can likewise cause respiratory problems and trigger asthma.
Mining for copper uses a lot of energy, whilst reuse takes a fraction of that energy. Any copper that is not reused ends up in the landfill, costing UK taxpayers’ a lot of money. The 2010 regulations state that for every tonne of rubbish buried that exceeds maximum limits, local authorities will pay a fine of £200. This money is obtained from the public purse. Making better use of resources helps save the environment and keeps bills low.
Adopting a Zero to Landfill Policy
Ethical businesses can prevent pollution by adopting a zero to landfill policy and recycling their copper waste. Professional waste management companies can remove and recycle unwanted copper without harmful emissions and without using the landfill. Copper recycling provides the industry with 41% of the supply of the copper it needs to make new products at almost the same value as the original.
Metal reuse and recycling reduces air and soil pollution, protects crops and resources, and saves money. This is a smart choice that every home and business owner should consider.