We recently told you about Coltan, a mineral that you’ve probably never heard of but that is incredibly important in to production of electronics, and is becoming in shorter and shorter supply.
However Coltan (and the Tantalum that is extracted from it) is not the only rare element that is relied upon for the production of even the most everyday electronics.
Indium is among the rarest elements on earth, accounting for less than 0.00001% of the earth’s crust. However as it is both electrically conductive and transparent it is of vital importance in the production of LCD screens among other things. However this scarcity, along with its increasing demand has lead it to be categorised as a ‘critical metal’.
One of the main reasons for this categorisation is that Indium is mined almost exclusively in China, meaning that there is a risk of monopolisation and supply chain disruptions. But there is also the real possibility that Indium could be extinct as a minable metal within the next 10 years. All of which combined have seen the price of Indium shoot up from around US $100 per kilogram to nearly $1000 in the past six years.
So what can we do to lessen our reliance on newly mined Indium in the future?
The first and most sensible answer is obviously to recycle any unwanted electronics that could contain Indium, to recover this and allow it to be reused in new devices. However the startling fact is that the second largest supply of Indium, after that this is already locked up in devices, is found in slag from waste incineration plants – and is therefore lost for possible recovery. This is a simple result of IT, telecoms and other electronic devices being simply sent for incineration, rather then being properly treated and recycled.
There are of course numerous research projects looking into more sustainable replacements for Indium in electronics, however there is a genuine worry as to whether any of these will be ready and accepted into the mass electronics market before the remaining stores of mineable Indium run out.
So with this knowledge it seems unbelievable that anyone would consider not correctly recycling their unused or unwanted electronics. However the truth is that many companies and organisations still do not, with a common blocker being the perceived price of commercial recycling services.
However here at Buy IT Back we are able to offer a buy back scheme for your unwanted electronics which will actually pay you to take your old IT, telecoms and other equipment off your hands. We are then able to either recondition and resell your equipment or correctly strip down and recycle the various components and elements so that none of the precious and critical metals go to waste.
To find out more, contact Buy IT Back today.