Closing the loop

Aurubis closes the material cycle for copper and other metals as an expert in multi-metal recycling.

Closing the loop: a one-stop shop for recycling valuable materials

There are many ways of protecting valuable resources. As an expert in multi-metal recycling, Aurubis closes the recovered material cycle for copper and other metals. In other words, you could also say that Aurubis makes its customers into suppliers with its “closing the loop” approach. The goal is for at least five more customers to introduce this closed cycle system for recovered materials by 2018. Partnerships of this kind are already in existence – for example, with Grillo Werke AG and Deutsche Telekom AG.

The focus of interest includes production waste and by-products resulting from production along the entire copper value chain. This may include materials with a very high copper content, such as Millberry scrap, which can be used again immediately in copper production. However, materials from high-copper and precious metal-bearing stamping waste to alloyed scrap, slag from foundries and other industrial waste can all also be reintegrated into the recovered material cycle.

 

 

State-of-the-art technology: collaboration between Aurubis and Grillo
The Aurubis recycling center in Lünen is home to the Kayser Recycling System (KRS), which produces converter copper as well as a complex, zinc-bearing residue. Our long-term partner for this so-called KRS oxide is Grillo Werke AG, which guarantees environmentally sound recycling and produces zinc sulfate from the KRS oxide. The zinc sulfate is used in the fiber, feed and fertilizer industries. Other elements are separated at Grillo and disposed of appropriately. Aurubis takes back the resulting residue, which contains copper, tin and lead, thus closing the recovered material cycle.

 

Old cables as a resource: Aurubis subsidiary CABLO and Deutsche Telekom
In addition to the raw materials recovered in production, the close cooperation with our customers enables the logical recycling of products that have served their purpose. The long partnership between Deutsche Telekom AG and Aurubis’ subsidiary CABLO Metall-Recycling und Handel GmbH is testament to this. Aurubis receives old cables with a copper content of around 50 % as waste from one of Deutsche Telekom’s partners, TEQPORT Services GmbH, and processes them using green, expert methods. Following the preparation – i.e. the separation of the copper core from the plastic parts – the components are then processed into high-purity copper granules and marketable plastics. The copper granules are used by Aurubis to make copper products such as continuous cast copper wire rod, which is used to make new cables, for example, thus closing the copper material cycle. The plastics are processed using injection molding to make products with a high finish quality that are very dimensionally stable, such as bases for road traffic signs.

Both Aurubis itself and Deutsche Telekom have very high standards of cable recycling. In 2014 alone, over 8,000 t of copper cable were removed from the ground in Germany and approximately 4,400 t of copper and 750 t of lead were recovered from it. To ensure green disposal, only certified disposal experts such as Aurubis are commissioned with dismantling and recycling the cable. Compliance with high environmental standards is audited throughout the entire process.

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