UK to encourage reuse, recycling precious metals in electronic gadgets

The UK government said yesterday, it planned to give local businesses money to find new ways to reuse or recycle precious metals to make them less vulnerable to fluctuations in supply and price of raw materials.

Precious metals including gold, platinum and palladium, along with rarer metals such as indium or gallium can be found in laptops, mobile phones and vehicle catalysts.

The price of gold has doubled over the last three years to around $1,650.00 an ounce, while the price of palladium has quadrupled in recent years.

According to the UK Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) it would offer financial support of £200,000 and would aim to establish partnerships between local businesses, communities and authorities to ensure none of these materials was wasted.

DEFRA's estimates' put the amount of electronic equipment that would be junked in Britain between now and 2020 at 12 mt, of which a quarter would be IT equipment, consumer electronics and display devices, which it says could contain around 63 tonnes of palladium alone.

Business secretary Vince Cable said, he wanted to see British businesses taking advantage of this golden opportunity to boost growth and jobs through how products were designed, while re-using, recycling or substituting valuable metals.