PGMs & Recycling
Secondary production or recycling plays an important role in lowering the environmental footprint of global PGM production. With responsible stewardship, PGMs can be recycled over and over again with a minimum to zero loss, resulting in a continual reduction of the environmental load of each successive life cycle. It is, however, important to understand that the amount of recylced material available to the market is not enough to meet current and future demand. Hence, primary and secondary production are intertwined.
Using state-of-the art recycling technologies, over 95% of the PGM content of spent automotive catalysts (and other PGM-containing materials) can be repeatedly recovered.
The high value of PGMs drives the recycling of other metals present in PGM-containing products that might not otherwise be recovered.
The PGM industry itself repeatedly recycles PGMs from their applications with recovery efficiencies of up to 95 per cent. It collaborates with other stakeholders to increase recycling rates. Targeting the weakest link in the recycling chain provides the best opportunity for improving the recycling rate of PGMs, which in turn can help reduce the overall environmental impact of the PGM supply.
In fact, opportunities for improving the recycling rate exist throughout the recycling chain:
"Opportunities for improving recycling rates in the PGM supply chain"