Nassau Smelting and Refining one of the Bell System's smaller subsidiaries had, since 1931, been recycling metals — especially copper — for the manufacture of wires and other telephone components. (See an earlier film, Scrap!)
This film previews a new plant built for the Bell System in Gaston, South Carolina. But the copper needs of AT&T were greatly decreasing with the growth of fiber optics. While this plant was state-of-the-art, it was no longer needed by 1990.
Originally, the Gaston plant was one of five (owned by various other companies) that the EPA used to establish emissions standards for recycling; but the plant's closing was part of a greater trend — by 2001, all five of those plants had been shuttered, effectively ending large-scale copper recycling in the United States.
Footage courtesy of AT&T Archives and History Center, Warren, NJ