Precious and Semi-Precious Metal Recycling
Metals can be recycled without losing their value, which makes precious and semi-precious metal recycling an important part of the waste management process. Recycling valuable metals is also less costly than mining new materials and manufacturing products from those.
Catalysts, which often contain precious and semi-precious metals, are used in innumerable industrial processes. Eventually though, those catalysts are rendered unusable and need to be replaced. This makes precious and semi-precious metal recycling especially relevant to manufacturing industries.
What Are Precious and Semi-Precious Metals
Precious and semi-precious metals are those that are economically valuable due to their uses and societal perceptions. Many of them are used as components of larger products. Below are several precious and semi-precious metals and some of their uses.
- Platinum: used in manufacturing and as a catalyst
- Palladium: used in making electrodes and as a catalyst
- Gold: used as a conductor
- Silver: used in electrical conductors and as a catalyst
- Rhodium: used in nuclear reactors and as a catalyst
- Iridium: used in aircraft engines, generators, and manufacturing plastic
- Osmium: used as a catalyst and as part of alloys
- Ruthenium: used in resistors and alloys to increase hardness
- Rhenium: used in making jet engines and as a catalyst in chemical reactions
- Copper: used in wiring and motors
- Tungsten: used as electrodes and in CRTs
- Iron: used in steel alloys and manufacturing
- Titanium: used in airplane engines and in other metal alloys
- Nickel: used in metal alloys
How Are They Recycled?
Precious and semi-precious metals are usually components of something larger. Thus, the metals must first be extracted from that larger item. If the extraction of the useful metal involves coming into contact with hazardous materials that are also components of the larger item, those hazardous materials need to be handled appropriately and any harmful remnants on the metal removed.