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MEI Online: Environmental Issues: Latest News: February 22nd 2018


Click for more info on Sustainable Minerals '20


:: Recycling: Minerals Engineering's Greatest Challenge


Whether it be plastics or metals, recycling is very much in the news these days. And so it should be, as it is a crucial area of the move towards a circular economy, where nothing is wasted (although thermodynamics teaches us that this is impossible), and at the end of the life of a commodity, the constituent components are recycled back into the closed loop.

Minerals engineering will play a leading role in attempting to make the throw away society, the linear economy, obsolete and our Sustainable Minerals '18 conference in Namibia in June will focus on the efforts that mineral processors and extractive metallurgists are making to reduce wastes, reprocess existing wastes, and the greatest challenge of them all, recycling.

Recycling is viewed by many as the panacea of sustainability. Once an article has reached the end of its useful life, you take it to a municipal waste centre, and it is recycled for further use. This is fine for products made from a single material such as glass, which can be melted down and reused, or for certain metals which are used in their native form, such as copper. Although the demand for copper is such that over 20 million tonnes of the metal is produced each year from primary orebodies, around 50% of the copper that is used in Europe is recycled and the energy required to recycle copper is roughly 85% less than from primary production.

Read the full article and leave comments on the MEI Blog: min-eng.blogspot.co.uk/2018/02/recycling-minerals-engineerings.html

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