Your mobile phone is full of rare Earth metals

14th September 2016

 

YOUR MOBILE PHONE IS FULL OF RARE EARTH METALS

Business mobile phone providers in the UK maybe be interested to learn, that using acid and bacteria could make recycling your smartphone greener and more environmentally friendly. Professors at the Worcester Polytechnic Institute of Massachusetts have come up with some remarkable data discovered from the processes used in recycling car parts.

The academy has a centre dedicated to Research, Recovery and Recycling and professors in biology and chemistry began looking at ripping up a car engine using a lab version of a garage and car dump shredder. Precious metals in the car engine are contained. These metals (otherwise known as rare earth metals) are in short supply. They are needed for the various technologies that we are developing.

China is responsible for furnishing some 97 per cent of the entire planet’s supply. Back in 2010, China decided to radically cut the amount of rare earth metals it exported. This led to a huge increase in the price of the metals across the world and the search went on to find a sustainable source to meet demand.

You might be interested to learn that rare earth metals are used in everything from light bulbs to weapon systems, televisions, music systems, tablets, iPods, desktop PCs, gaming consoles, even 3D glasses. The best place to start – thought the researchers at the polytechnic – was to use the rare metals piling up in the landfill sites where mobile phones were accumulating.

Can it be done? Business mobile phone providers in the UK will easily accumulate thousands of used and unwanted phones in a year as it seeks to upgrade its handsets. The metal used in these devices is reusable when manufacturing new handsets.

These metals don’t go off or turn bad after being used for a short period of time. It is not like a fruit or vegetable which has a shelf life, it can be used again and again, if recycled in a clever way. They are sustainable and can be used again and again.