mobile phone in hand near recycling bin

Support for Critical Mineral Recovery

Today, we submitted a letter in support of a bill that would create a state task force to help prevent critical minerals from ending up in our landfills. This common-sense solution could reduce the amount of new minerals we need to mine from the ground by reusing the minerals in our outdated technology waste.


March 26, 2024

Chair Hawj and Members of the Senate Environment, Climate and Legacy Committee:

Conservation Minnesota urges you to support SF4523 (Hauschild) and the establishment of a critical mineral recovery task force. As we look to improve our waste management and reuse practices as a state, recovering and recycling valuable materials from our electronic and energy waste is vital.

Many of the products we rely on today require rare materials like cobalt, palladium, and manganese. These critical minerals are found in our daily electronics, including smartphones and computers. They are often diIicult and costly to source new and rely on imports from foreign nations. Rather than rely on constant import, we can better utilize the materials we already have in old and out of use products.

SF4523 (Hauschild) will address the increasing need for these materials, and the growing waste supply we have, by establishing a task force led by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency. The group will investigate emerging technologies to recover critical minerals, research the most economical and environmentally sound methods for recovery, and meet with relevant stakeholders to ensure best practices for stewarding products through their end-of-life stage.

Establishing a task force allows Minnesota to prepare and review options for future technologies, systems, and policies. We know have a tremendous amount of electronic waste to manage, and there are some proposals already out there to address this issue. However, to do so in the most eIective way for Minnesotans and our environment, we need a plan to manage these products and the valuable resources they hold and put them back into our supply chain to make us less dependent on new imports.

We respectfully ask that this committee support SF4523 (Hauschild) to help lay the foundation for this system and put the minerals we already have in Minnesota to good use.


Nels Paulsen, Policy Director
James Lehner, Policy Associate