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I wrote a column quite some time ago in which I advised readers to go out and buy their local rubbish dump.
The thinking was that as our oil reserves continue to be plundered on a daily basis there will eventually come a time (probably in the not-too-distant future, when we find that it becomes economically viable to recycle all that buried plastic and other material we presently make from oil, use, then throw away.
Think of the massive amounts of plastic wrapping, containers, bottles and other long-chain polymer products that are just waiting to be dug up and recycled into more of the same -- or even converted into fuel.
And now there is yet another reason to invest in those old rubbish dumps.
According to stories running on the wires this weekend, we're running out of the rare materials which have become an essential part of today's hi-tech.
Although, as this technology advances, we often find alternatives to previously essential materials, it seems that there are a core of about a dozen metals or metaloids for which there is no substitute.
I've also written columns about the merits of investing in neodymium futures -- long before they hit there current price levels. Sage readers would have done very nicely by heeding that advice.
If current trends towards increasing demand and higher prices continue then the day when our landfills become 21st century gold-mines (literally and figuratively) is not far away.
In fact, if you also realise that even the biological material in these landfills can be considered valuable, by virtue of the fact that when properly designed and built, such areas can produce huge amounts of methane gas that is then available for energy production -- the old saying "where there's muck there's brass" rings very true.
Although today's recycling initiatives go some way towards helping sort the valuable from the not-so-valuable, I still think our culture of burying our unwanted packaging, food waste and other rubbish, simply to get rid of it, is a flawed one.
Instead of treating our rubbish dumps as "necessary evils" which pose a threat to the environment and cost a fortune to establish and maintain -- maybe it's time we looked at our trash as a future treasure.
Trash-based energy generation is already happening in some places and trash-trawling for gold, silver, neodymium and other valuable materials will not be far away, of that we can be 100% sure.
So, as I said before -- buy up your local former landfill sites and you'll be sitting on a king's ransom of future value.
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