We all know it’s important to recycle to reduce waste, prevent pollution and protect our planet’s precious, finite resources.
But, if we are to sustain a growing population with modern lifestyles, we must go a lot further in building a truly circular economy.
That means a system where everything is designed, produced and made for use and reuse, over and over again.
This is particularly important for the energy and transport transitions, where the products we make, like catalytic converters, fuel cells and green hydrogen electrolysers, rely on scarce metals, such as palladium, platinum and iridium. Not only does an ounce of recycled platinum group metal (PGM) contain around 50 times less embedded carbon than newly mined PGM, but the more we can recycle and reuse, the less we need to mine in the first place, which itself has associated social and environmental impacts.
The world’s first circular economy
JM helped create one of the world’s first circular economies in platinum group metals, and today we’re the world’s largest recycler of PGMs. Our PGM extraction and separation processes are so advanced that we can recycle platinum, for example, to a minimum purity of 99.95%. And all our metal-containing catalysts are designed to accelerate chemical reactions using the minimum amount of metals.
Applying our expertise to develop new recycling solutions
To create a truly circular economy, however, we need to think about how we recycle new products before we’ve even made them - a design to recycle approach. That’s why we’re working hard to take what we already know about PGM recycling and apply it to battery, fuel cell and green hydrogen technologies. For example, in April 2021 we announced that we’re partnering with Stena Recycling Group on technologies to recycle and reuse the scarce metals from used electric vehicle batteries in new battery materials.