Document Type


Publication Date



Working Paper 12


In order to better understand the fate of copper following its use, the discard flows of copper were analyzed in Sofia, Bulgaria, and New Haven, CT, USA. These cities were chosen to compare discard copper generation and recovery between a city in a developed country and a city in a developing country. The comparison between these two cities can be problematic due to their different relative sizes, and generalizing the results to other cities cannot be done without some error. However, as the first study of its kind, this study provides insights into the relative copper recovery rates indifferent socioeconomic contexts. The total yearly per capita copper discards from in-use stocks in Sofia were found to be about 1.9 kg/person (for year 2003), while New Haven has total yearly per capita copper discards from in-use stocks of about 4.7kg/person (for year 2000). The associated recovery rates for copper in both cities are quite high, at about 87% in New Haven, and 97% in Sofia. The higher per capita copper discards and the lower recovery rate in New Haven is thought to be attributable to the higher average income level relative to Sofia.