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E-waste recycling industry shows potential in Minn.; study predicts 1,700 direct jobs

Dr. Roopali Phadke
Sahan Journal
Professor Roopali Phadke is one of the principal investigators of the study on the potential of an e-waste recycling industry and is a scholar of environmental politics and policy at Macalester College.

Marshall Helmberger from the Timberjay newspaper talks about a new pilot study about e-waste recycling to address the need for metals like copper and silver, wood stove manufacturing and the outlook for flooding.

IRON RANGE — Metals like copper and nickel are important for the future to sustain industries like renewable energy, electric vehicles and battery storage.

Lamppa mfg.jpg
J. Summit
Three generations of the Lamppa family pose with the recertification letter the company received March 1. Pictured are Garrett Lamppa, Daryl Lamppa, and Garrett’s three-year-old son Leif Herbert Lamppa.

That’s why the copper-nickel mining industry is working to establish different sites to mine for these metals. Proposed sites include Twin Metals in Ely, Polymet in Hoyt Lakes and the proposed Talon Metals in Tamarack.

But according to Timberjay editor and publisher Marshall Helmberger, a recent pilot study from Macalester College, Repower and Iron Range Partnership for Sustainability suggests another method of gathering the metals: recycling.

Helmberger talked with one of the study’s principal investigators.

“In public conversations about mining, we only usually talk about mining for virgin metals, but there are a lot of opportunities to reuse the metal that’s already been dug out of the ground, and it seems wholly irresponsible to not look there first before we alter even more landscapes and communities,” said Professor Roopali Phadke from Macalester College.
Helmberger talked with Heidi Holtan on the Friday, March 17, Morning Show. This week’s reporting also included a recent Environmental Protection Agency inspector general investigation into emissions of wood burning stoves.

Helmberger wrote, “Tower-based Lamppa Manufacturing had flirted with bankruptcy late last year after the EPA rescinded its certification to sell its Kuuma wood furnaces, despite test results that repeatedly demonstrated it was the cleanest-burning wood furnace on the market.”

Helmberger also reported on the latest flood predictions for this spring.

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