Smartphones and rare earth recycling

Did you know that smartphones and PCs contain the so-called "Rare lands"? The extraction process of rare earths is very onerous, energy-consuming and polluting, so recovering them from disused materials would involve the possibility of reusing them.

17 chemical elements are part of the "rare earths" (in English "rare earth elements" or "rare earth metals"), some of which are highly used in the production of automotive batteries, smartphone, pc and other technological objects that have now entered our daily life.

Due to a significant increase in procurement prices of Rare lands due to the fact that their market is 97% owned by China, the need has arisen to find a viable alternative to the purchase of rare earths by Europe in China. What are the benefits of recovering Rare lands from the materials to throw away? By recovering the material that must not be extracted, there would consequently be less environmental risk for the natural elements from which the Rare lands.

The dependence on another country for the supply of the material would be eliminated. Product costs would drop significantly. The process of organizing object recovery plants from which to recover rare earths and defining the technologies capable of recovering them requires time and resources.

In Italy, the data referring to the collection of electrical waste are very positive: on a value of 25 kg of waste produced per person per year, about 4 per person are recovered. Italy also has 150 plants that deal with the recycling of electrical materials and electronic. The only handicap is that only 4 are able to extract rare earths.

Video: Separating Rare Earth Elements Byte-sized Science (October 2020).