With fleets of electric cars starting to hit the roads, the next big mother lode for salvage companies is expected to be the expensive, newfangled batteries powering them.
Yet even as automakers vaunt the ways these cars can benefit the environment, they are divided over how best to handle the refuse: recycle or re-purpose.
That is worrying some companies involved in “urban mining” — a voguish term that refers to extracting valuable metals from all kinds of discarded electronics, from power tools to mobile phones. They have already begun spending money to build an infrastructure to handle the flood of partly depleted battery packs that are expected to enter the waste stream; Frost & Sullivan, a consulting firm, puts the number at about 500,000 a year by the early
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