Topic: electric cables, electricity sector

The disposal of electric cables: standards and safety

Today we will try to outline the main characteristics and regulations that govern the world of electrical cables, from materials and its areas of use, to environmental safety; also taking a look at behavior on European markets and the interesting implications.


CPR regulation and rules on electric cables

On March 9, 2011, Regulation No. 305/2011 was drafted by the European Parliament, better known as the CPR Regulation; this dictates the conditions for trade in construction products. Specifically, with Annex IV of the decree, we focus on products in the electrical sector, at number 31 precisely we deal with: electrical, control and communication cables.

These have an obligation to comply with specific fire reaction and resistance requirements, with a particular focus on potentially harmful substances. Obligations related to the possibility of use in the home and consequently potentially harmful to health. They can potentially also cause fires.

As a tool against these possibilities, the CPR Regulation comes to the aid of citizens, who can prevent fires and potential accidents caused by non-compliant electrical systems.


What are the products involved in the CPR Regulation?

The CPR regulation includes all the electric cables for energy and communication among the products to be kept under observation. Given that the internal voltages and the conductors installed in the systems must comply with the minimum reaction and fire resistance requirements.

The CPR Regulation establishes 7 characteristics for construction products and for electrical cables, these can be placed in the second and third categories:

  • Mechanical resistance
  • Fire safety
  • Hygiene and environmental health
  • Security and accessibility
  • Noise protection
  • Energy saving
  • Eco sustainability


Disposal of electric cables: the importance of not dispersing them and mistakes not to be made

The correct disposal of electric cables is becoming an increasingly important issue, given the large quantities that are used and on the other hand due to the bad habit, not yet eradicated, of people not to consider the electric cable a harmful element if dispersed in the environment. On the one hand, the dispersion of the electric cables can also be due to the lack of knowledge and awareness of the right disposal methods; on the other, failing to properly dispose of electrical cables wastes important resources that could instead be reused.

Very often then, in the uncertainty of what to do, the cables are kept in your home in view of who knows what future reuse, with the most likely situation that will be forgotten, thus wasting the possibility of real use.

It is therefore important to understand where to throw these materials. Just like plastic or metals, electronic waste also has its own specific separate collection. So, you need to inquire at your municipality of residence or region. Usually the public bodies prepare ecological islands in the area where they can bring the electric cables to be thrown away; alternatively, there are specialized centers that provide this type of service. From the ecological island, the electric cables will be transported precisely to specialized centers to be treated and derive other elements to be reused or give new functionality.

It happens, however, that when you do not know what to do with disused cables, you may run into the error of getting rid of them by throwing them in the classic waste containers, perhaps thinking of making a gesture that is also correct. In reality, it is not really the most suitable disposal method, also putting municipal workers in difficulty to collect the garbage which may not be able to collect non-classified waste within their duties. It is not just a matter of bureaucracy, but of the proper management of waste that does not comply with those that currently have the obligation to collect.


Market and market player for electrical cables

From an economic point of view, the Italian market of low voltage electric cables has a value that exceeds 1.5 billion in turnover and is divided among very few producers; data in hand, the top four Italian players hold 70% of sales on the Italian market; while the remaining 30% of sales are exported to countries in Northern Europe, Asia and part of the Balkans, with well-established commercial relationships. The major manufacturers of electric cables are trying to cover as many operating sectors as possible, of course, even if their main interest is focused on expanding the range of products to offer to the market, especially the special ones.

Currently, some large companies in the electricity sector are focusing on the manufacture of cables dedicated to the naval, automation and railway sectors, where there are large production numbers, and on the other hand also the disposal of the replaced cables or future replacement.


From this short article we have seen how the disposal of electric cables is not something to be underestimated, both from an environmental and economic point of view because the impacts for both are really important. If the Administrations provide specific places and services for the disposal of electrical cables, people are still not too aware of their danger and the ways in which they must be disposed of. For this reason, more communication and information work on what exactly to do in these situations would still be needed. Let's not forget that copper is among the well-paid metals and recovering it leads to a good income. Therefore, disposing of electrical cables in the most correct way is economically and ecologically advantageous.

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Posted by Redazione on May 1, 2020

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