Copper Price Increases, Increased Value in E-Waste Recycling

In recent years, Copper prices have been soaring due to ever-increasing demand from manufacturers. Copper stands out among the hottest commodities in recent times as prices of the base metal surges as demand from leading manufacturers’ increases. This is attributed to optimism over robust demand from different countries on expectation of increased infrastructure spending over the coming years. China is the world’s largest consumer of metal.

According to a recent report, copper for March 2017 delivery grew 2.9% on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange, which was the largest one-day increase in nearly two months.

Intuitively, one would say that copper prices are on an increasing trend despite so many unknowns and changing factors in the world.

E-waste recycling allows for precious and special metals to be recovered and reduces the environmental impact associated with electronic manufacturing from raw materials. Recycling e-waste also aids to conserve precious natural resources which are limited in supply. Recycled material is used to make new products which reduces the need to mine virgin raw materials from the earth. Decreasing the necessity for mining also lowers pollution, since the mining process has an impact on our environment.

Management of recycled e-waste entails refurbishment and repair of electronics, reuse of functional electronics and recovery of electronic components. The most desirable option is the reuse, refurbishment or repair of electronic products since it increases the lifespan of the electronic merchandise and ensures higher resource efficiency.

Such recycling of e-waste would mean less demand for virgin copper raw material and a decrease in copper prices. However, despite the benefits of copper recovery from e-waste, its recycling is limited due to insufficient collection, lack of legislation or policy authorizing e-waste recycling, insufficient recycling and recovery technologies and illegal export of harmful e-waste to developing countries whose recycling processes pose grave risks to human health and the environment.

However, continued increase in copper prices will cause leading manufacturers to look to e-waste recycling in order to cut down on cost of the raw materials.

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