ASTM working on rare earth recycling standards

By Editorial Staff, Resource Recycling

ASTM is working on new guidelines to improve the recycling of rare earth metals, which are critical components in the manufacturing of everything from batteries to integrated circuits.

At a recent meeting in April, ASTM Subcommittee F40.04 finalized a standards development agenda to address the production, utilization and recycling of 17 rare earth metals. In addition to improving rare earth mining and production capabilities, the new standards will focus on ways to recycle and reuse materials and will specifically address ways to efficiently separate the metals from other components. Input is currently sought from interested parties and experts in rare earth metal production and refining.

Recycling rare earth metals has become increasingly important over the past several years as China, which controls approximately 95 percent of global production capacity, has repeatedly taken measures to limit export quotas. This has prompted many other governments to explore alternative options, such as research announced earlier this year by the U.S. Department of Energy's Ames National Laboratory. The Japanese government has also begun exploring rare earth recovery options, and Toyota and other large manufacturers have taken similar steps.

The next meeting of the ASTM F40 subcommittee will be November 13-14 in Jacksonville, Florida.

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