Improving the environmental performance of products, along with enhancing sustainability throughout the supply chain, has gained significantly in importance in recent years, both for consumers and industries. In parallel, EU initiatives, such as the Sustainable Consumption and Production Action Plan, foster greater resource efficiency and the commercialization of more environmentally friendly products.
The copper industry is at the forefront of industries committed to reducing the environmental impact of its operations. Today, one third of the energy consumption of modern European copper manufacturing is used to operate environmental protection measures. The copper industry has conducted detailed life cycle assessments (LCA) on the production of copper metal and the leading semi finished copper products (tube, wire and sheet) responding to requests from end-users and regulators, along with the industry’s own sustainable development goals
It’s important to understand the life cycles of the underlying raw materials because the EU place more and more emphasis on the “green technologies” needed to meet its 2020 energy targets. LCA provides environmental profiles for potentially competing raw materials and technology solutions. For instance, copper is the best non‐precious metal conductor of electricity as it encounters much less resistance compared with other commonly used metals. In addition, copper’s exceptional strength, ductility and resistance to creeping and corrosion make it the preferred and safest conductor for commercial and residential building wiring. So, it is an essential component of energy efficient generators, motors, transformers and renewable energy production systems.
Generally speaking, using of copper saves energy and reduces carbon dioxide emissions. Copper also improves the operating efficiency of all forms of renewable energies, such as wind turbines, photovoltaic panels, tidal generation and solar thermal systems. This LCA shows the importance of recycling old scrap as a way to reduce environmental impact. It reinforces the need for more support for local and national recovery and recycling initiatives
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