Copper reserves are heavily under pressure. According to an article of Diederen [Diederen (TNO) 2009] the current copper reserves worldwide will last for another 25 years. The highest ore grades, including copper, are already depleted and energy requirements for metal extraction grow exponentially with lower ore grades.
After extraction the copper is used in all kinds of industrial and consumer products, such as electronics, packaging, staples, plumbing, cookware and decorations. These products usually end up in the municipal waste. This waste is collected and converted into energy, but because most metals, such as copper, are incombustible, they remain in the ashes. Subsequently, these ashes have to be handled with care to prevent poisoning the soil with copper.

Elemetal recovers the copper from the ashes of waste-2-energy plants in order to prevent the copper from contaminating the soil, and to ensure that the copper is recycled.

Extracting the copper from the ashes has many environmental advantages, such as:

  • Less copper poisoning the earth
  • The copper is recycled
  • The recycled copper is pure, so it's upcycling instead of just recycling