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The copper cycles of European countries

TitleThe copper cycles of European countries
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2003
AuthorsBertram M, Graedel TE, Fuse K, Gordon R, Lifset R, Rechberger H, Spatari S
Journal TitleRegional Environmental Change
KeywordsCopper, Material flow analysis, Resource management
AbstractA comprehensive technological copper cycle treating a series of life stages (mining and processing, fabrication, utilization, and end of life) has been constructed for sixteen countries on the European continent for the year 1994. In this paper we draw on that information to present country-level copper cycles for a sampling of the countries. We then compare the countries on the basis of their relative and absolute copper production, import/export, usage, recycling, and losses to the environment, and go on to produce per capita assessments of flow and stock changes. Among the results of particular interest are: (1) country-level copper budgets possess features often different from the continental budgets of which they are a part. For example, Europe extracted only slightly more copper from mines than it deposited in landfills, while the mine to landfill flow ratio was about 11:1 in Poland and near zero in the United Kingdom; (2) Germany led all other countries in the group of sixteen in the absolute magnitude of every major copper flow (production, import, export, consumption, and waste generation, and in per capita flows of copper entering use and waste management), while the Benelux countries led all others in per capita flows for all other categories; (3) citizens of essentially all the countries discarded 1–3 kg Cu/year, mostly in obsolete electronics and end-of-life vehicles.
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