Here you will find articles that discuss how copper interacts with the environment in a variety of common applications-from plumbing to heat efficiency.
- Sustainable Energy
- Mining & Recycling
- Green Properties of Copper
- Copper in Drinking Water
- Copper in the Natural Environment
We're in no danger of running out of copper. Known worldwide resources of this important and valuable metal are estimated at nearly 5.8 trillion pounds of which only about 0.7 trillion (12%) have been mined throughout history.
Nearly all of that 0.7 trillion (or 700 billion) pounds is still in circulation because copper's recycling rate is higher than that of any other engineering metal.
Until well into the 1800s, most copper used in the U.S.A. had to be imported. Today, we are virtually self-sufficient and, worldwide, second only to Chile in production.
Each year in the U.S.A., nearly as much copper is recovered from recycled material as is derived from newly mined ore. Excluding wire production, most of which uses newly refined copper, more than three-fourths of the amount used by copper and brass mills, ingot makers, foundries, powder plants and other industries comes from recycled scrap.
Almost half of all recycled copper scrap is old post-consumer scrap, such as discarded electric cable, junked automobile radiators and air conditioners, or even ancient Egyptian plumbing. (Yes, it's been around that long.)
The remainder is new scrap, such as chips and turnings from screw machine production.
For some more interesting facts about copper, see Copper Facts.