Is the transformer recyclable?

Dry-type transformers are considered highly recyclable as their material can be extracted and reused to produce other electrical components. The recovery of copper and steel, in particular, can also be advantageous from an economic point of view, given that these materials have a high intrinsic value and can be reused in other industrial applications.

The amount of material that can be reused depends on the volume of materials used in its construction and their degree of contamination and deterioration.

Generally speaking, however, it is estimated that a transformer can be recycled for 90% of its total weight, with only 10% of materials that may be difficult to dispose of or require a more complicated recycling process.

Waste materials from transformer manufacturing can include:

  • copper or aluminum windings remaining after the transformer is manufactured;
  • plugs of iron or other metals used for the transformer coil;
  • electromagnetic laminates not used or remaining after the construction of the transformer;
  • processing machinery and equipment not used or necessary for the construction of the transformers;
  • unused or excess insulating materials, such as paper, resins and paints;
  • chemicals used during the manufacturing process, such as solvents and acids;
  • production waste, such as packaging and paper waste;
  • metallic or plastic parts not used during the production of the transformer;
  • electricity waste from testing and calibration of transformers;
  • other waste materials deriving from transformer maintenance and repair activities.

These materials can be reused in various ways, for example:

  • recycling: materials such as copper, steel and aluminum can be recovered and recycled to produce other products;
  • reuse in the production of new transformers;
  • use in the production of other products, such as electronic components;
  • use as building materials, in particular, they can be used as thermal or acoustic insulators in building construction.