Can cable wires be recycled?

Where can I pull

But we are also in an era in which electronic devices are renewed with great speed and in which many of them, as well as their cables and chargers, have a fairly limited life. This means that, every so often, we end up with several of them in our hands or in a box, already useless or ready to pass on to a better life. But how to do it correctly?

It is very annoying when a cable stops working, or opens at one of the ends until the copper wires are left in the air, isn’t it? It is also a bit of a mess if you have to use a lot of them and they end up getting tangled. This, in addition to being impractical and aesthetic, can also lead to damage or bad shapes.

If you want to store them in a drawer after use, it is advisable to roll them up carefully and, if possible, always in the same way. This will prevent the joints of the connections from stretching. It is also not good for you to pull the charger cable to unplug or disconnect it. It is always better to hold it by the body, so that the weakest part of the cable or charger does not suffer. And, when storing them, always avoid nearby heat sources, as they can alter them or, in the worst case, seriously affect their operation.

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Where to recycle cables

Cables, whose purpose is to conduct electricity through all types of installations, buildings and appliances, are generally made of copper, a material with excellent conductivity, or of aluminum which, although it has lower conductivity, is more economical. As a general rule, cables are insulated or sheathed with plastic, thermoplastic PVC (polyvinyl chloride), PE (polystyrene) or PCP (polychloroprene). The type of plastic and thickness will depend on the application of the cable as well as the thickness of the conductive material itself.

Cable recycling, in the first instance, consists of a double passage through a shredding machine, in order to obtain a sized material, made up of plastic and copper, or aluminum depending on the type of cable processed.

Depending on its quality, the plastic is sent to recycling plants which transform it back into products, such as waste bags, road safety elements, among others. If the plastic is not of the required quality, it is disposed of in a sanitary landfill.

Cable disposal

Cable recyclingPerhaps the first question that comes up when talking about cable recycling is “But can you recycle cables? And the answer is “yes”, although many people believe that they cannot be recycled and these cables end up being deposited with conventional garbage or together with plastic waste.

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The recycling process of the cables can be a problem, since in spite of being a very valuable material due to the copper that they possess, the recovery of this manually is very expensive, although thanks to the new technologies this process is now simpler and more profitable.

The cables, which are usually made of copper or aluminum, are usually also coated with PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride), PE (Polystyrene) or PCP (Polychloroprene) to facilitate their insulation. There are different techniques for the recovery of these materials, but the general process is as follows:

The plastic obtained accounts for approximately 65% of the weight of the cable, 70% of which is PVC. Different techniques can be used to recover up to 90% of this material, which can be reused, thus reducing the amount of waste.

Wires that don’t work

Electronic waste is increasingly becoming a major problem worldwide: tons of televisions, washing machines, electronic equipment, machines of all kinds, household appliances, cameras, toys, printers, telephones… all kinds of devices with cables, cards, plugs and microchips.

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All this fever for technology is causing an increasing amount of electrical and electronic material to be recycled: electrical cables, telephone cables, chargers, plugs, plugs and the list is endless.

In e-waste recycling, the most extracted materials are electrical cables (because of the value of copper and aluminum), but also cards, cell phones and computers because they have minimal amounts of gold, silver and platinum.

In general, end consumers of electrical and electronic equipment (televisions, household appliances, computers, etc.) and many companies do not know what to do when they have to recycle these appliances.