Celebrating Earth Day and the World's Oldest Recyclable Metal

April 22, 2012


Copper is One of the Greenest Metals For Over 6,000 years

NEW YORK, NY-Copper and copper alloys-brass, bronze and copper nickel-have an infinite recyclable life, so as Earth Day approaches, the Copper Development Association (CDA) encourages consumers to reach in their pockets and inspect their coins, because the copper in today's coinage may be as old as the pharaohs.

Copper products are extremely durable, have long life spans, are low maintenance and require little repair or replacement, which makes them perfect for recycling and re-use. In fact, copper's recycling rate is higher than that of any other engineering metal. Each year in the United States, nearly as much copper is recovered from recycled material as is derived from newly mined ore.

CDA estimates that out of all the copper and copper alloy products used in America, 45 percent is used in building construction, 23 percent in electric and electronic products, 12 percent in transportation equipment, 12 percent in consumer and general products and eight percent in industrial machinery and equipment. Moreover, half of the demand for copper is met with recycled material, meaning reused copper touches every facet of American life.

According to Earth Day Network, the first Earth Day was celebrated in 1970. However, copper's recyclability has been popular for thousands of years; therefore, consumers who wear copper jewelry or cook with copper pots could be benefitting from the same metal that was in circulation during the time of the Predynastic Period.

Copper also plays a role in green energy. Many of today's renewable energy systems powered by sun, wind and water rely on copper for optimum performance. For example, the grounding equipment found at the base of wind turbines are primarily made of copper. As a result, copper is helping to power homes and businesses across the globe with clean energy.

"Our ability to reuse copper extracted from recycled product is a tribute to an industry that's environmentally conscious regarding its use of natural resources on behalf of consumers," said Andy Kireta Sr., President and CEO of CDA. "Consumers who use copper in their homes, kitchens, workshops and even art studios are doing their part to protect our planet and reduce waste. From all of us at CDA, Happy Earth Day!"