Bureau of Mines Research on Resource Recovery. Reclamation, Utilization, Disposal, and Stabilization.
The federal Bureau of Mines has been a leader in resource recovery research since it was founded in 1910. Until the early 1960's, most of the projects were concerned primarily with the task of extending and improving conventional technology oriented to secondary metals and minerals upgrading and processing for marketable products of highest value. By the mid-1960's with the passage of the Solid Waste Disposal Act of 1965, all resource recovery research programs were increased in scope and intensity as an effort to solve the growing number of environmental problems and the rapid depletion of domestic energy and mineral resources. Many new materials were investigated including urban refuse, manufacturing, industrial wastes, and stockyard wastes. The objective was to promote maximum recycling as the most practical answer to problems of waste disposal, pollution control, and the short supply of minerals and energy. The new research projects ranged from the conversion of animal manure and other organics to oil, to the recovery of precious and common metals from demolished aircraft and electronic scrap. This profile includes brief descriptions of many selected research projects that typify the total spectrum of Bureau of Mines research in the important field of resource recovery.