Copper recycling and sustainability Back Ford
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Copper applications
Copper can be recycled, over and over, without any loss of properties and used again and again for many applications including: electrical, electronic, architecture, art and shipping
You will be familiar with the concept of recycling - from adverts on TV and newsletters from your local council - and probably already recycle paper, glass, clothing, shoes, aluminium drink cans and baked bean tins, but have you ever thought about recycling copper?

Brass bathroom taps, copper water pipes and electric cables all contain copper and are much longer lasting and more valuable than any of the above. When these components eventually become available, possibly due to refurbishment or rebuilding, they are too valuable to be dumped in the bin or thrown into skips, ending up in landfill. They too can be recycled and the recovered copper used to make new products which will have the same properties as those made from 'virgin' copper that has been mined and refined.

Recyclability is one property which helps to establish the 'green' credentials of a material, that is how 'environmentally friendly' it is. Demand for copper, along with other metals such as steel, aluminium and nickel, is growing as countries throughout the world continue to develop industrially with a consequent requirement for more raw materials. To help conserve the world's raw materials, there is a growing emphasis on recycling, however, for a more meaningful 'green' rating, a material's sustainability needs to be considered.

The widely accepted description of sustainability is the concept of meeting present needs without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.

A complete explanation of sustainability is beyond the scope of this e-source. We will explore some environmental aspects of sustainability, such as energy conservation and reduction in landfill, and some social aspects such as maintenance of public health.

As you study this e-source the sustainable nature of copper will become evident.


The e-source has 11 pages:

Using this e-source
There are a number of interactive features in this e-source:

A glossary of terms: any word with a glossary entry is highlighted. Clicking on the word will open a new window with a definition of that word.

Quick questions: at the end of each page is a quick question to test your understanding of that page. Type in your own answer then click on the button to see how well you did.

Quiz: at the end of each unit, there is a quick quiz to see how well you understand the ideas.

Roll over diagrams: many of the diagrams have highlights or sequences. You can see these by rolling your cursor over part of the picture or part of the text. The text has a roll over highlight.

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