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Information About Copper and Copper Recycling

Copper is a non-ferrous metal, and valued as the best non-precious metal conductor of electricity. The only metal with better conductive properties is silver. Copper holds as much as 90 percent of new copper value, and as such it is one of the basic targets for many scrap metal collectors.

Here are some other basic facts about copper and copper recycling:

1. With usage spanning 10,000 years into the past, copper has been used by people longer than any other metal. A copper pendant dating to approximately 8700 B.C. was found in what is now northern Iraq.

2. Beginning around 8000 B.C., copper was used by Neolithic man as a substitute for stone. Around 4000 B.C., the Egyptians heated and mold casted copper into shapes. Shortly thereafter, around 3500 B.C., people began smelting ores, giving birth to the Bronze Age.

3. The island of Cypress was the source of copper used by the Romans, which they referenced as Cyprium, which translates as "metal of Cyprus." This name was shortened to cyprium, and later, cyprium was changed to coprum. This was the genesis of the English term, “copper.”

4. The processing of recycled copper requires much less energy than the processing of new copper from virgin ore, providing a savings of 85–90 percent of energy requirements.

5. Ranking only behind Chile in copper production, the United States is largely self-sufficient in copper supply. The U.S. produces roughly 8 percent of the world’s copper supply.

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