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Recycling Copper Communications Cable

Seeking to address the fire hazard presented by accumulation of abandoned cable, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) included requirements for removal of abandoned cable in the National Electric Code (NEC) beginning with the 2002 edition.   Many State and local jurisdictions have now adopted these provisions into locally enforced electrical codes.


Network managers, building owners, tenants, and contractors who install network cabling systems and consulting engineers who design them now must respond to the NEC requirements for removal of abandoned cable. With growing attention and concern for the environmental impact of everything related to the buildings, increasingly the following question must be answered.

 

What happens to cable once it is removed?

It is common practice for copper communications cables to be “scrapped” for their copper content, though in many cases these cables are sent to landfill.   The practices used to extract copper typically result in the disposal of the significant amount of plastics used for insulation and jacketing in landfills or by improper incineration.


While not all plastics are readily recyclable, certain plastics are highly recyclable.  The fluoropolymers used as insulation in plenum rated cables can be recycled and retain properties allowing them to be used in wire and cable applications again.  Other plastics, like filled Polyethylene or PVC compounds commonly used as jacketing or insulation can be recycled, but cannot retain properties sufficiently enough to allow their reuse in cabling applications.


DuPont was first to develop and introduce a unique program to perform post-consumer recycling of copper communications cables.  By using these services, end users, contractors, and consultants reduce the end-of-life impact of removed cables.  Such practices can contribute toward objectives of USGBC LEED® credits for green building design and construction.

 

How the Program Works

Based on information provided to the recycler regarding project location, the amount and type of cable, project timing (start/finish dates) and other relevant information (access restrictions, etc.), project feasibility and an estimated scrap value can be determined. As a guideline, a project should involve a minimum of approximately 100,000 linear feet of cable, typical of 60,000 square feet of renovated space, and take place in two weeks or less, unless the cable to be recycled can be secured over a longer span of time.


In some cases, the service may include the placement of a collection dumpster at no cost.  Payment for recycled cable is available after loads have been received and their contents assessed, and documentation is available certifying that the cable will be recycled for both plastics and metal content.


To find out more about this unique recycling program call 1-866-383-5623 or use our contact us form.