Rare earths are extremely precious, with an estimated value of more than $US2 trillion.
This metal, known as lanthanum, is used in the electronics industry to make certain types of transistors and semiconductors.
But it also has a reputation for being a hard metal that is difficult to work with.
That means there is a good chance you will find yourself out of luck if you’re in the market for rare earth metal scrap.
In fact, it’s a very good idea to look for items that you can easily work with, says Ian Crampton, a professor of chemistry at the University of Sydney.
“You will have a chance of finding some items which are really difficult to extract and recycle, which can be very useful for some materials,” he says.
This article first appeared on The Globe and Mail.