C&EN senior editor Steve Ritter explains that metals are limited natural resources, just like crude oil and fresh water. He described copper, zinc, platinum, and certain other metals as "endangered species," which could be depleted by the end of this century. That's because such metals are being used faster than they can be replenished through recycling.
Proposed solutions for making the use of metals sustainable include smarter design of consumer products so that people can more easily recycle and use the metal content. Other solutions involve encouraging companies to adapt more efficient recycling strategies and providing more financial incentives to encourage people to recycle. Other possibilities include mining new sources of metals, such as those found in metal sulfide deposits near deep-sea hydrothermal vents or manganese nodules found in deep-sea sediments. While such innovative mining approaches are expensive and not practical today, new technology may enable their use in the future, the article suggests.
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"The Future Of Metals"
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