Copper is natural, fully recyclable, corrosion resistant, durable and antimicrobial. It is not persistent, bio-accumulative, or toxic to the environment under normal conditions of use.
Copper is used in all electronic devices. It’s incorporated in cables and wires, in magnetic deflectors, coils and conductors. Electrical uses of copper, including power transmission and generation, wires for building purposes, telecommunication, and electrical and electronic products, account for about three quarters of total copper use - over 933,000 tons - a year. Because of its properties of high ductility, malleability, and electrical conductivity, it has become the benchmark for almost all types of wiring.
A considerably large amount of copper is found in CRT monitors respective in the magnetic deflector and the surrounding wire. It is comparably easy to access and can be recycled to a great value after cleaning. Other components like copper coils are harder to clean and therefore are of lower value.
Copper should be cleaned before further processing. Therefore all foreign materials like screws, rubber and plastic should be removed. This is not viable with all components, e.g. copper coils, as it is too labour intensive. Wires and cables can be granulated to remove copper (see data sheet wires and cables).
There are no special requirements regarding storage of copper. Dismantled copper scrap can be stored in simple boxes or drums.
Copper shredding and smelting in a furnace is the common way of metal recycling. Recycled copper has the same attributes as virgin material and can be used the same way.
Copper smelting companies usually can be found in every country. When selecting a downstream partner to treat scrap copper, pay attention to their applied standards regarding environmental performance and health & safety standards.
Copper scrap can be sold to a scrap metal merchant. As other non-ferrous metals, copper prices are fluctuating considerably and depend on the copper quality (grade).
Source of Information
Dismantling Guide for IT Equipment, which was elaborated within the SRI project and financially supported by SECO and UNIDO, June 2015