For nearly 5,000 years, copper was the only metal known to man. Today it is one of the most used and reused of our "modern" metals.
Look closely at the next copper object that you see and consider these facts:
- The copper in everyday products like cookware and the coins in your pocket may be as old as the pharaohs, because copper has an infinitely recyclable life. Copper, by itself or in any of its alloys such as brass or bronze, is used and reused over and over again.
- Copper was first worked by humans more than 10,000 years ago. A copper pendant discovered in what is now Iraq has been dated to around 8700 B.C.
- Known worldwide copper resources are estimated at nearly 5.8 trillion pounds, of which only about 0.7 trillion pounds (12%) have been mined throughout history - and nearly all of that amount is still in circulation, because copper's recycling rate is higher than that of any other engineering metal.
- Each year in the USA, nearly as much copper is recovered from recycled material as is derived from newly mined ore. When you exclude wire production, which mainly uses new refined copper, the amount of copper used by copper and brass mills, ingot makers, foundries, powder plants and other industries shows that nearly three-fourths comes from recycled copper scrap.
- More than half of this scrap is "new" scrap, such as chips and turnings from screw machine production. The remainder is "old" scrap, such as discarded electric cable, junked automobile radiators or even ancient Egyptian plumbing.
- Copper's recycling value is so great that premium-grade scrap normally has about 85% of the value of the primary metal from newly mined ore.
- According to Andy Kireta, Sr., president of the Copper Development Association Inc., "Our ability to reuse copper extracted from recycled product is a tribute to an industry and a material that's environmentally conscious regarding its use of natural resources on behalf of consumers."
- The United States does not depend on imported copper - we produce more than 95% of all we use each year!