Rare earth end up in trash

They are found in mobile devices and wind turbines: 17 chemical elements, The rare earths. World leader, China has restricted exports and forced up the prices. Now, the recycling of valuable raw materials are driven.

In Germany, households store treasures. Alone 80 Million old mobile phones lie forgotten in drawers or basements, also countless computer, Monitors, TVs and other electronics. They contain copper and gold, Silver and lesser known metals such as tantalum, Neodymium, Indium or yttrium. They are installed only once in a product, they are often lost. The recycling of rare earths and strategic metals is still in its infancy.

"With the known technique, we can recover from the electrical copper and gold", Prof. sagt. Kerstin Kuchta, the research at the TU Hamburg-Harburg. In a ton of scrap mobile phone to connect to 300 Gramm Gold. For the rare earths, there is no sophisticated method, to reclaim the materials on a large scale. That could be in five to ten years where, estimates the scientist. "The recognition, that these resources are scarce and precious, has arrived in the industry ", says Kuchta. The efforts of science and industry would have increased significantly.

Each year, approximately 130 000 Tons of rare earths produced, almost exclusively in China. In other countries, certainly there are occurrences, they have so far been funded but not yet. "China makes the market more and more", says the researcher. could in Germany alone 100 to 500 Tonnes are recovered through recycling. "These are small amounts, but also so that the market could relax a bit. "the miniaturization of electronics continue to stride ahead, so that even very small amounts of rare earths would be needed.

On Tuesday, meet at the Hamburg Chamber of Commerce for two days 200 Waste experts from German-speaking, to discuss the recycling of electronic waste. "This is not just a recycling, but also an environmental problem ", said the spokesman for the Hamburg city cleaning, Reinhard Fiedler. In electronic devices are not only valuable materials installed, but also toxic substances. To separate the different materials and work up is technically a very demanding process. To facilitate the recycling, According to experts, should be paid to the potential for reuse of recyclable materials with the design of new devices.

So far, not many devices only get back into the recycling loop. From Germany are estimated to more than 150 000 Tonnes of used electrical- and electronic products exported to Africa and Asia. The metals contained therein are worth billions. So far, there is less incentive for the consumer, its used equipment again leave. One way to do this would be for example, a deposit system.

Those: http://www.wiwo.de/technologie/umwelt/kein-recycling-technik-seltene-erden-landen-im-muell/7730770.html


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