Parish recovers precious metals to care for the planet

As part of its Live Simply Campaign, and in response to Pope Francis’s plea in Laudato ‘Si to care for the planet, the Parish is focusing on recycling and, in particular, it is collecting items with hidden value found in every household.  For example, old mobile phones, cameras, sat navs, tablet computers and kindles contain precious metals like gold, silver, copper, platinum and palladium.  But mining these metals from ore is difficult; it takes a tonne of ore to get 1g of gold. Stripping them from existing mobile phones is not easy but can yield a surprising amount of material.   Other rare earth elements such as yttrium and gadolinium are in the phone screens ; neodymium and praseodymium is used in headphones or speakers and microphones; lanthanum is used in the  tiny lens in the phone’s camera (this feels a bit like the Tom Lehrer song!).
But the Parish is also collecting other items like jewellery and watches, foreign currency left over from holidays abroad, and used postage stamps which people collect and then leave in drawers and cupboards.  
One parishioner said, “I was astonished to find that I had five old mobile phones in the drawer at home which I had collected over the last 20 years – alongside three cameras, a tablet and a Kindle!”
On the first weekend, parishioners brought in sackfuls of precious trash which will be bagged up and sent for recycling to Recycling for Good Causes.  The company then gives money back to the Parish which will be sent to CAFOD, the Catholic Agency for Overseas Development.  The final day for bringing goods to the Parish collection is Sunday 3 November – until the next collection session is arranged.

The photograph on this page shows about 10% of the items donated on the first day of collection.