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What Happens to Recycled Copper?

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Copper is among the most widely recycled metals in the world. Old copper products can be melted down and reshaped into new products, reducing the need to mine for copper ore. In fact, it is estimated that the majority of the 700 billion pounds of copper humans have extracted from the earth throughout history is still in use today. A lot of the copper recycling in Calgary takes place at recycling facilities such as Federal Metals Inc. To find out what goes on at these facilities and what happens to recycled copper, keep reading below.

How Copper is Recycled

When copper reaches a Calgary scrap metal recycling facility, it must first be visually inspected and separated into different grades. The purest and most valuable type of copper – #1 bare bright copper wire – can be melted down and recast without requiring much further. In some cases, it may be fire refined to ensure the highest quality. On the other hand, lower grade copper, because it might have some impurities, needs to be electrolytically refined. This is done by melting the copper down, casting it into anodes, and electroplating it.

Calgary scrap metal recycling facilities also recycle copper alloys. Alloyed copper is kept separate and melted together with other batches of alloy scrap. If the exact composition of the scrap is unknown, then it can be melted down and analyzed further.

What New Products Are Made from Recycled Copper?

Once recycled scrap copper has been recast, Calgary metal suppliers then sell these new copper products to various industries. Products made from recycled copper have the same properties as those made from virgin ore and so can be used in all of the same applications. Copper is used in electronics, wiring, transportation vehicles, industrial machinery, power generation, telecommunications, motors, roofing, appliances, heat exchangers, and plumbing. As you can see, copper is ubiquitous throughout the modern world.

High-grade copper which is free of any impurities is usually reserved for critical electrical applications where purity is crucial for ensuring high conductivity. The recycled copper used in these sorts of applications will typically come from #1 bare bright copper wire or from copper that has been electrolytically refined back to a high grade. Copper used for power cables typically has less stringent requirements but should still be free of impurities. Products made from recycled lower grade copper can be used with no detriment in just about any other non-electrical application, such as in plumbing tube and roof sheeting.

Recycle Your Copper with Calgary’s Metal Recyclers and Suppliers

If you have some scrap copper lying around, then you could make a quick buck and help the environment at the same time by bringing it in to Federal Metals Inc. We accept many different forms of copper for copper recycling in Calgary, including copper pipe, copper sheet, and stripped copper wire. We also accept a variety of other types of scrap metal.

To find out more about copper recycling, or to get the current scrap metal prices in Calgary, just contact Federal Metals Inc. today.

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