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Innovation and opportunity:
Seeking uncommon solutions in rare earths

ASHLEY E. BAKER
American Chemical Society Green Chemistry Institute®, 1155 16th St. NW,
Washington D.C., 20036, United States




KEYWORDS:
Green chemistry, innovation, materials, sustainability, recycling, electronics.
ABSTRACT:
This article gives a brief overview of challenges in the use of rare earth elements. Solutions to address geopolitical and sustainability concerns are being developed by green chemists all over the world. Universities, national research labs and businesses alike are seeking more environmentally friendly methods of rare earth extraction or entirely novel approaches to achieving functions similar to those provided by rare earths.



INTRODUCTION

Slowly but surely the world is waking up to the reality and consequences that come with a disposable tech culture.  In May 2009, The Atlantic revealed “clean energy’s dirty little secret,” the story of how green technologies are currently made possible through the use of rare earth elements (1). 
Just last year, the BBC featured ...
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