One of the country’s biggest street cleaning firms has revealed plans to find over £1 million worth of materials from street sweepings.
Street sweepings have previously been sent to landfill or compost sites, however Veolia Environment Services believe they can filter this waste to find lucrative materials including platinum, palladium and rhodium.
The firm are also confident of finding traces of gold and silver that has rubbed off clothes, shoes and jewellery in the sweepings.
The company believes they could obtain up to 1.2 tons of platinum and 1.4 tons of the highly-sought after material palladium - used in electronics, jewellery and hydrogen power cars - from the 440,000 tons of road sweepings collected annually across the UK.
In order to extract the valuable substances, the rubbish is filtrated and chemically washed at the country’s specialised extraction plant in Warwickshire.
The final separation of solids leaves a dust that offers the opportunity for precious metals recovery.
Veolia Environment Services technical director Richard Kirkman said:
The firm now plan to open up three new facilities around the UK to mine Britain’s street waste.