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Plot Device
05-22-2010, 06:31 PM
Don't throw out your old computer. Find a computer recycling center near you and bring it to them.

http://www.businessgreen.com/business-green/news/2263071/un-warns-rare-metal-shortage



UN warns rare metal shortage could derail clean tech boom

Failure to improve recycling rates of metals such as lithium and gallium could leave them "essentially unavailable" for use in solar panels, electric cars and other clean technologies

BusinessGreen.com Staff, BusinessGreen 14 May 2010

The UN yesterday issued a stark warning that the adoption of low carbon technologies such as solar panels, electric cars and energy efficient lights could stall unless the recycling rates for "speciality metals" used by the electronics industry drastically increases.

Metals such as lithium, neodymium and gallium all play crucial roles in the development of many clean technologies. But according to a new preliminary report from the UN's International Panel for Sustainable Resource Management, recycling rates for these metals currently stand at around one per cent.


[snip]

MattW
05-22-2010, 06:41 PM
We need enough materials to set up asteroid mining capability. For a significant time after that it will only be an issue of price, not availability.

But I see how much stuff isn't recycled now - I wonder if trash mining is the next big industry?

Plot Device
05-22-2010, 07:03 PM
We need enough materials to set up asteroid mining capability. For a significant time after that it will only be an issue of price, not availability.

But I see how much stuff isn't recycled now - I wonder if trash mining is the next big industry?


I read a future dystopia in which trash mining was the ONLY industry in a given region of the USA.

mario_c
05-22-2010, 10:51 PM
Great article, PD. The big news item awhile ago was that a lot of this scrap metal, trashed PCs and related equipment was being shipped to junkyards in the poorest sections of Asia, where recycling labor is cheapest and safety regulations are not enforced. This is a big problem as well.
There are electronics recycling services, charities like Goodwill, and even repair shops that will take "doorstop" PCs, boomboxes, etc off your hands. Maybe a boom will occur if unemployed entrepreneurs start these businesses here in our communities?

jennontheisland
05-22-2010, 10:55 PM
Trash mining has been on the radar for years. In consumption based societies it's just about the only way to recover raw materials. Good thing we've collected it in nice neat holes in the ground. Too bad we've built parks over some of them. But just think of how much lithium is in all the batteries that are buried under the swing sets.

Torrance
05-22-2010, 11:06 PM
Darn. I was going to be the first guy on my block to have a set of grills made out of gallium. Now it seems so socially irresponsible. :(

Zoombie
05-23-2010, 02:04 AM
Well, its a good thing that nanotechnology allows us to recycle on a molecular level!