Whilst this debate is nearly over, we thought that this may be worth a mention as within the Cloud of Industrial and Economic debate, this point could well be missed.
The world is running out of Material Resources. Why else do you think we’re encouraged to recycle and reuse more.
Whilst at EEESafe our main thrust is in the Reuse and Redesign of Electrical Goods (in the main, White Goods) we are also pro active for the same reasons, about every conceivable household item through our LocalitEEE Platform, permeated in it’s unique Community Development Design; we thought an article brought to our attention from Tectronics, best communicates the potential impact (negative or positive) whatever the referendum outcome.
Immigration is a big issue for many, which we think shouldn’t be the only consideration of what’s best for Britain. There is a danger of sacrificing the Economy for Immigration, but remember that the world population is increasing exponentially and is currently over 7.4 Billion and counting. See the Population Clock. You’ll never see this go down. Watch all day and every day if you like, but it keeps going up. I’ve not yet tried looking at it during a major disaster, so I guess a potential hiccup is possible. In Britain, we’re on the 65 Million mark and we need to remember we are an island, so materials have to be imported, so in keeping with our core Ethos of Reuse/Repair, we all have to reduce our dependency on raw and reprocessed materials. (The latter also having a limited lifetime).
You can’t keep creating jobs that are built solely on a Consumption Model, you have to start a real Conservation Model, which is really what LocalitEEE is about, and evidencing that we’re doing it, whilst tackling poverty. At some time in the future there’s going to be another Billion or so in the world including the many more millions in the UK.
Taking the economic angle, check out some of the Tectronics article on Electronics.
The Good Bit.
This growing mountain of e-waste is however becoming a commodity in its own right. Inside this mountain there is a rich source of precious metals. Urban mining is a growing trend in which gold, silver and palladium are recovered from the e-waste, in particular from the printed circuit boards. The concentration of the metals in e-waste can range between 10 to 300 ppm (g/tonne) which is far higher than the primary ore from which the metals are extracted at typically around 4 ppm. In the UK alone around 22 kg per capita of electronic equipment were discarded in 2012 with an estimated total metal value of close to £1bn. We are truly living in a gold mine.
The Bad Bit
Not only is the recovery of the precious metals from the e-waste attractive because of their high value, it also helps to diminish the reliance on primary sourced metals which have significant supply risks associated with them. Palladium, an essential component in some electronics, is classified as a critical raw material by the EU because these metals are mined in just a handful of countries, thereby creating an inflexible supply chain; South Africa and Russia provide 78% of the world’s palladium. Mining is becoming increasingly expensive in South Africa due to deeper mine shafts and higher energy costs, whilst in Russia the palladium output is also dependent on the prices of the base metals nickel and copper from which palladium is extracted as a by-product. Diplomatic tensions also can have an effect on the market such as in the very recent example of the crisis in the Ukraine, which caused the palladium price to increase. The trouble is when so much of the supply of such important materials is controlled by one or two countries, consumers are stuck between a rock and a hard place.
BRexit or BRemain?
Draw your own conclusions from those featured sections. We’re not even going to enter the debate here, because nobody knows what will happen whatever the outcome. What we can say is that more people will want more stuff, and most likely won’t be giving a thought to the Climate Agenda because of Greed, Personal and Corporate. We’d just like you all to be aware that Tim Peake hasn’t solved the Materials Shortage yet and nobody likely will. We need to change the game and make it one of Engagement and Action that is based on knowing the World Population is growing, but the Planet is diminishing and those with the Key Materials will likely take advantage before Materials Armageddon hits us.
Happy Voting. Whatever happens, the same problems won’t go away unless we start living together at Community and Global levels. The bigger problems are inevitable and logical and the sooner we start working together, the better for future generations.
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