Unknown to most average citizens, the aeronautics and space industry is an enormous consumer of precious metals. Gold, silver and platinum, among other valuable metals are used in a variety of manufactured aircraft components. Temperature control, conduction and lubrication are only a few of the properties provided by precious metals in the manufacturing of aircraft. Precious metals are used for everything from soldering wire to electronic parts.
Surprisingly, nearly eighty percent of an aircraft can be recycled when it has terminated its flying life. Radioactive and leaching processes are commonly used to recover an estimated $6,000 to $18,000 worth of precious metals from the engine, alone. Commercially operated aircraft graveyards are located mostly in the southwestern United States where more land is available to contain lumbering aircraft carcasses.
PMRP, also known as the Precious Metals Recycling Program, is run by the US Department of Defense. Government recycling programs save tax dollars, reduce the environmental impact of mining and conserve precious natural resources.