In response to unstable supplies, the government of Japan is drafting a bill aimed at increasing recycling of rare earth metals.
The bill aims to collect and recycle used electronics in order to recover rare earth metals and other resources, reports The Japan Times. Under the legislation, local governments will be required to collect used electronics and deliver them to processors for material recovery and rare earth metal separation. Manufacturers will be asked to design their products for recycling and consumers and businesses to turn in their old gadgets for recovery.
The Times cites figures from the Environment Ministry that puts the amount of used electronics disposed of in Japan at about 640,000 tons, annually. These discarded electronics are estimated to contain rare earth metals, and other metals, valued at 84.4 billion yen (approximately $1 billion).