Each year, platinum supply benefits from around 2 moz of metal from mainly autocatalyst (80 per cent) and jewellery (20 per cent) recycling. The former is achieved through a recovery process that sees the ‘end-of-life’ recycling of over 60 per cent of the platinum used in autocatalysts.
In addition to end-of-life recycling, ‘closed-loop’ recycling of platinum also takes place, for instance in glass production where old platinum equipment is recycled and turned into new equipment.
Platinum recycling is important. Firstly, it gives existing end-users and those developing new technologies reassurance as to the long-term sustainability of platinum availability, allaying fears concerning the potential for eventual resource depletion. Secondly, recycling platinum brings carbon-offset benefits to the platinum supply-chain, contributing towards producers’ own efforts to improve sustainability and lower their environmental impact.