Copper scrap is a kind of necessary raw material in the U.S manufacturing cycle. An increasing amount of U.S. scrap collected has been exported in recent years.
The U.S. industry not only generates many tons of copper-base scrap, but it also needs and uses many thousands of tons each year during the process of new manufacture. Customer-returned metal scrap tends to be re-circulated to the plant of domestic origin. According to the U.S. Geological Survey, in 2008, about 98% copper-based scrap had been consumed at brass and wire rod mills. The purchased scrap market gradually increased in the United States through 1997.This increase has been presumed to reflect the steadily increasing industrial base, from which more customer return scrap is generated. However, since 1997 total scrap use has declined, coincidental to the significant increase in U.S. scrap exports.
Even while the brass and wire mill sectors of the U.S. secondary-based industry were expanding capacity, mill consumption of scrap copper relative to primary copper was decreasing. Until 1982, copper from all scrap sources had grown each year in the United States, as a percent of total copper consumed, varying between 7% (in 1906) to 50% (in 1950).However, from a peak of around 49% in the early 1980s, the contribution of copper from scrap to domestic copper usage gradually has been decreasing to around 30% in 2007. Copper prices have escalated since 2003, but a coincidental increase in US industry scrap consumption did not accompany the higher prices. Instead, U.S. scrap exports steadily increased over the period.
Copper consumption from scrap does not include the significant amount of home scrap that is generated at every plant. Between 15% and 40% of raw material consumed remains in the production cycle of brass and wire mills and is recycled again and again.
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