Recycling old cabling?
Frank A. Coluccio
frank at fttx.org
Wed Aug 18 00:08:49 CDT 2010
All of the larger telcos and power utilities have been 're-smelting'
copper for decades. Verizon (nee NY Telephone) had a copper smelting
plant on Staten Island at one time that recycled all of the used
cross-connect wire and cables removed from underground and poles. Telco
main distribution frame personnel were, and very likely still are,
instructed to use "copper-scrap" bags for depositing small bits and
pieces of copper wiring collected at cleanup time at the end of work
shifts. Many years ago, copper, for this reason, was one of the three
"C"'s that no one would mess with. Copper and Cash were two.I'll leave
the third one to the reader's imagination.
This subject is interesting because it's one of the cost-justifiers in
business models that seek to re-engineer large office buildings and
other copper-intensive venues where the objective is to replace all
copper wiring with hybrid fiber-wireless alternatives. While
reclamation through salvage is only a by-product of this movement, it
is nonetheless one that is cash intensive, so it cannot be overlooked.
Not only is the copper data cabling removed (Cat3/5e/6, in this case),
but also potentially tons of power cables and racks supporting
sometimes hundreds of riser telecom/LAN closets, where there are
usually anywhere from two to four closets per floor, depending on the
size of the floor plate, in a forty- or sixty-story building, say.
Every copper penny helps these days.
--- streiner at cluebyfour.org wrote:
From: "Justin M. Streiner" <streiner at cluebyfour.org>
To: nanog at nanog.org
Subject: Recycling old cabling?
Date: Tue, 17 Aug 2010 07:29:50 -0400 (EDT)
Just out of curiosity, is anyone here recycling old cabling and plant
infrastructure for their raw materials, or engaging a recycler to
those materials? Where I work, there is almost always a renovation
project going on. This provides opportunities to rip out
Cat3/Cat5/long-abandoned thicknet/thinnet/FDDI-grade fiber/etc, which
normally do. Most of the time that old cabling ends up in the
but I'm wondering if anyone is recycling it, either by their choice, or
the result of company policy or relevant laws in your area?
Cat3/Cat5 can be broken down to raw materials with some effort, but I
haven't seen many recyclers with an economically viable process for
it. Coax is a bit tougher, but not impossible (same questions about
economic viability still apply). Fiber can be tough, expecially if
dealing with something like 20+ year old gel-buffered cable where the
long-since dried out.
I'd be interested to hear other peoples' experiences along these lines.
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