Efforts to achieve Government targets of 15% renewable energy by 2020 could be unattainable without a recycling programme for rare earth metals, the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) has warned.
In its submission to the Government’s science and technology committee enquiry into strategically important metals, the institution has called for a recycling programme to extract metals from the 30 million unused computers and laptops in the UK.
RICS’ submission explained that without such a programme, there is a danger that future renewable targets may not be reachable, given the necessity of the metals as “fundamental components” in current renewable energy technologies.
RICS project executive Rebecca Mooney said: “The UK does not have a secure domestic source of these critical materials. For this very reason, we should be investigating how to recover what has already been harvested and is lying unused or being discarded as waste.
“A policy similar to the EU’s waste electrical and electronic equipment directive on electronic equipment recovery is urgently needed, as failure to act could mean that future green energy projects become economically unfeasible.”