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Fraunhofer tracks copper volume and recycling impacts

Global – Globally, approximately 12 million tonnes of copper contained in discarded products became available for recycling in 2015, according to a new resource tracking system developed by Germany’s Fraunhofer Institute. During that year, a total of 440 million tonnes of copper was in use worldwide – mainly in buildings, machinery and computers – while more than 26 million tonnes reached the end-of-life stage.

Collection and recycling of discarded products, combined with the recycling of manufacturing scrap, yielded well over 8 million tonnes of recycled metal in 2015. Meanwhile, China is said to have had more than 80 million tonnes of copper stocks in use during 2015, as compared to less than 10 million tonnes in 1990.

These are some of the findings of Fraunhofer’s so-called ‘dynamic model’ designed in collaboration with the International Copper Association specifically to track the global flow of copper, starting from 1910. Factored in are key trends such as international trade, global mining, recycling and a wide array of manufacturing applications.

‘The big question has always been how much copper could have been recycled but wasn’t,’ comments lead author Luis Tercero Espinoza. ‘Until recently, there were many one-year snapshots of the copper cycle worldwide and in some regions. We now have the full picture.’ Source:

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