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Is Fibre Optic Cable Recyclable?

Fibre optic cables allow us to instantaneously communicate with each other and transmit data over vast distances via the internet, and there are tens of millions of miles of this crucial cable currently in use around the world. With so much of it in use, we need to know: are fibre optic cables recyclable?

Fibre optic cable is in fact recyclable – to recycle fibre optic cable, it can be converted back to its basic components. The components, such as the polymer casing, are stripped apart and sorted before being independently repurposed and used in the creation of other useful items, like plastic pallets.

In this month’s article, we’ll be talking you through what fibre optic cables actually are, and what the recycling process looks like.

What Are Fibre Optic Cables?

In our highly connected, fast-paced modern society, we require a method of transmitting large amounts of data seamlessly around the globe. For telecommunications and our use of the internet, the technology that allows us to accomplish just that relies on fibre optic cabling.

Fibre optic cables work by carrying light from one destination to another. The information is encoded in the way the light is transmitted, which is then decoded at the other end by a computer. To ensure the light travels correctly, the cables are designed with complete internal reflection in mind. Light beams transmitted along the cable reflect against the boundaries of the cable, ever moving forward. In this way, the connection is made. There are two key materials internal to fibre optic cables: a core and a cladding layer. Between the two, complete reflection is established.

The cables are encased in a protective jacket, usually a polymer, or plastic. Individual fibres arranged in ribbons then have a tougher polymer resin coat around them. Sometimes, a light-absorbing material may be used to prevent light leakages from one fibre to another.

Recycling Fibre Optic Cable

With so much fibre optic material to be found throughout the country, it would be reckless not to recycle it. At Hill Metal Recycling, when we remove cabling from a premises, it goes straight to our dedicated recycling facilities. There we sort through the waste materials to identify them and appropriately begin the recycling process. For fibre optics, that involves reducing it to its elemental components.

The core of the fibre optic is stripped away from the plastic casing. Each of these can then be moved on to be utilised in the creation of a new product. Although this separation process is difficult, it is well worth the hassle because fibre optic cables do not biodegrade. In fact, fibre optic cables are expected to sit in landfills for at hundreds, if not thousands of years. Recycling provides an environmentally friendly alternative.

None of the materials that pass through our doors will go to landfill – we strive to recycle everything. So if you are renovating your property and find yourself with large amounts of cabling, be sure to get in touch with Hill Metal Recycling.

At Hill Metal Recycling we pride ourselves on the fact that we are the leading recycler of a variety of cabling throughout Harlow, Hertfordshire and the surrounding areas. We are affiliated with the DVLA and Environment Agency bodies and are widely qualified and experienced to appropriately handle and dispose of all types of scrap cabling.

We also offer a 24 hour scrap collection service, including for everything from fibre optic cables to cars, for commercial and some domestic needs. To discuss the best prices you can fetch for your scrap metals, don’t hesitate to get in contact with our friendly team today!