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The contemporary European copper cycle: waste management subsystem

TitleThe contemporary European copper cycle: waste management subsystem
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2002
AuthorsBertram M, Graedel TE, Rechberger H, Spatari S
Journal TitleEcological Economics
Volume42
Pages43-57
Accession NumberISI:000177127200006
KeywordsCopper, Electronic scrap, emissions, Europe, incinerators, management, Material flow analysis, metals, recycling, waste
AbstractA comprehensive copper mass balance for waste management in Europe has been carried out, including municipal solid waste, construction and demolition waste, wastes from electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE), and end-of-life vehicles (ELV). The recycling efficiency of the current waste management system in Europe was quantified and the sources of copper scrap used for secondary copper production were determined. Additionally, an assessment of copper losses to the environment from incinerators and landfills was undertaken. As a final step, select parameters were varied to test the sensitivity of copper waste generation results to the uncertainties in the data. The total flows of copper into the European waste management system consists of 920 Gg/y domestic copper waste and of 300 Gg/y imported old scrap, of which 740 Gg/y are recycled and 480 Gg/y are landfilled. In Europe 2 kg per capita of copper waste is generated annually. WEEE and ELV are-the most important domestic waste streams from the perspective of copper contents. They contain 67% of the total copper throughput, but only make up 4% of the mass of total waste generation. Because WEEE is the fastest growing waste category, this finding emphasizes the need for efficient WEEE recycling strategies. The overall recycling efficiency for Europe for copper in all types of waste, excluding prompt scrap and scrap imports, is 48%, with a range of 5-58% depending on the country. This shows further potential for increased recycling activities in the future. Emissions of copper to the environment are under 5 Gg/y but several new sources for emissions are not yet quantified. Uncertainties in waste generation rate and composition for some waste categories (WEEE, C&D) are high, and additional analysis is needed to confirm the above findings. (C) 2002 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.
URL<Go to ISI>://000177127200006
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