Researchers at Yale Call for International Policy for Specialty Metals Recycling
September 25, 2012 9:11 AM
comment(s) - last by
Researchers called for deposits on electronics and other ways to promote electronics recycling
A group of researchers from Yale University is calling for an international policy on the recycling of scarce specialty metals critical in the production of certain consumer electronics devices and other goods. The special metals include rare earth elements such as indium, gallium, and germanium.
“A recycling rate of zero for specialty metals is alarming when we consider that their use is growing quickly,” said co-author Barbara Reck, a research scientist at the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies.
These metals are used in small amounts for precise technological devices such as red phosphors, high-strength magnets, thin-film solar cells, and computer chips. According to the researchers, the recycling and recovery of these specialty metals is technologically and economically challenging so attempts to recycle the metals are seldom made.
"Specialty metals are used in products in only small amounts, but their value typically does not provide enough incentive to invest in a complicated recovery process. Also, the technology to do so is untested,” said Thomas Graedel, the study’s other co-author and Clifton R. Musser Professor of Industrial Ecology.
The researchers are calling for improved designs for recycling, deposits on consumer goods, recycling targets for the specialty metals, and financial incentives for the industry to employee state-of-the-art techniques for the recycling of the metals.
“Metals are infinitely recyclable in principle, but, in practice, recycling is often inefficient or essentially non-existent because of limits imposed by social behavior, product design, recycling technologies and the thermodynamics of separation,” said Reck.
Efforts to recycle these rare earth elements and specialty metals could increase as prices for rare earth metals climb. China has most of the world's rare earth deposits and has started to
how much of this rare earth material it sells to help drive prices up.
This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled
RE: So Much Waste
9/25/2012 11:09:56 AM
While they can cost $10k/pound; your phone only uses a penny or two of rare earth metals spread out across dozens of individual components. If we were willing to go back to something similar in size to an '80s brick phone built with larger discrete components that were easy to desolder (or socketed at an even greater increase in chunkyness) reusing parts would be easier; otherwise there's not likely to ever be a cost effective method to extract trace elements.
"It looks like the iPhone 4 might be their Vista, and I'm okay with that." -- Microsoft COO Kevin Turner
China Cuts Off World's Rare Earth Metal Supply
October 21, 2011, 12:40 AM
Sprint Introduces $60 Unlimited Plan, Touts $20/Month Costs Savings Versus T-Mobile
August 21, 2014, 2:05 PM
Opera Becomes Official Browser of Microsoft-Nokia's Non-Windows Phones
August 21, 2014, 1:01 PM
Microsoft Tests Free 24-Hour Xbox One Game Trials
August 21, 2014, 11:41 AM
New Photos Show “Assembled” iPhone 6, Protruding Camera Ring
August 20, 2014, 2:32 PM
ZTE Nubia 5S mini LTE 4.7" Smartphone Headed to U.S. for $280 Unlocked
August 20, 2014, 10:37 AM
AT&T Will Also Receive the HTC One (M8) for Windows
August 19, 2014, 9:27 PM
Most Popular Articles
Lumia 830 Gets Major Upgrades Including New 20.1 Megapixel Toshiba Sensor
August 15, 2014, 6:00 PM
Windows Phone, BlackBerry Smartphone Market Share Falls to 2.5%, 0.5% Respectively
August 15, 2014, 9:44 AM
GM Concedes That the Cadillac ELR Doesn’t Really Compete with the Tesla Model S
August 15, 2014, 5:42 PM
Cell Phone Thief Calls 911 After Her Victim Chases Her and Her Male Cohort
August 14, 2014, 12:11 PM
Smarter Wired, Wireless Chargers Set to Shake Up Mobile Industry
August 14, 2014, 6:39 PM
Latest Blog Posts
Space Terrorism is a Looming Threat For the United States
Apr 23, 2014, 7:47 PM
Facebook Aims to Provide Internet to "Every Person in the World" with Drones, Satellites
Apr 1, 2014, 10:20 AM
Retail Mobile Sites Experience Outages in Light of Simplexity's Bankruptcy
Mar 14, 2014, 8:48 AM
Tesla vs. BMW: Who Has the Safer EV?
Feb 1, 2014, 2:56 PM
Justice Leaks Details of Next HTC One Two Flagship Phone
Dec 5, 2013, 4:04 PM
More Blog Posts
Copyright 2014 DailyTech LLC. -
Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information