It’s not widely known, but President Trump has started a ‘massive’ national recycling program. This surprising turn of events will save the American tax payers billions of dollars and will eventually lead to the creation of tens of thousands of new jobs! This specific recycling program came into existence after President Trump signed an executive order to reduce reliance on foreign sources of certain ‘critical’ materials.
The recycling idea began to gain traction as a result of the President's concerns about the defense of the nation. It was found that the US military is dependent on imports of specific materials from all over the planet. These materials are critical for manufacturing everything from tanks to fighter planes. If for any reason the flow of these materials is halted then the American military could be facing major problems within months.
After President Trump signed the order, the Department for Defense started the large-scale recycling & storage of what it calls ‘strategic’ materials. This includes alloys, metals and even types of glass. Just in case you are wondering how dependent the US military is on imports of materials you might be shocked to know that the Lockheed SR-71 "Blackbird" spy plane was built from titanium purchased from Russia. It sounds almost unbelievable that a spy plane built to spy on Russia was made from ‘strategic’ materials acquired from the old Soviet Union. Who would have guessed that titanium is predominately mined in Australia, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Japan and Russia?
One of the most unexpected consequences of Trumps executive order is an initiative that could give the USA a world lead in battery recycling. It turns out that two of the ‘strategic’ materials happen to be cobalt and lithium. As you know, both of these materials are used in lithium-ion batteries. The same batteries used in smartphones, laptops and electric vehicles. In support of Trumps order the U.S. Department of Energy will award $5.5 million to companies advancing lithium-ion battery recycling technology and it will invest a further $15 million to develop a recycling research center dedicated to the task.
As a result of this executive order, prize money and investment, the USA could well end up a leader in lithium-ion battery recycling. This is a massive deal! In another 40 years most of the worlds cars will be electric and at some point they will need to be recycled. The revenue stream generated from recycling lithium-ion batteries and reselling these ‘critical’ materials is worth billions to the companies and countries doing it. The question everyone is asking is: “Who will be the first to master lithium-ion battery recycling”? My money is on Elon Musk’s Tesla Gigafactory, which is leading the worlds lithium-ion battery production from the State of Sunny Nevada.