An animation featuring a huge Periodic Table was projected onto Middlesex University's main building in support of Chemistry Week. The eye-catching display, marking International Year of the Periodic Table, appeared across the front of College Building on Thursday, 21 November. Staff and students turned up in support and displayed their phones in a call to recycle to medical devices.
The Periodic Table, invented by a Russian chemist Dmitry Ivanovich Mendeleyev in the 19th century, is a list of the 118 known chemical elements. The elements are placed in order of their atomic numbers starting with the lowest number of one – hydrogen. The atomic number is the number of protons in a particular nucleus of an atom.
MDX is joining 11 leading UK universities to highlight the threat to a growing number of elements through a lack of recycling old tech devices.
Research carried out by Ipsos MORI for Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) found that 51% of UK households have at least one unused electronic device – such as mobile phones, computers, smart TVs, MP3 players or e-readers – and 45% have up to five.
Of these, 82% have no plans to recycle or sell on their devices after they fall out of use.
These abandoned electronics have precious elements that are at risk of running out.
"With Middlesex University students studying courses in subjects including Biochemistry, Pharmaceutical Chemistry, Environmental Science, and Sustainability and Environmental Management, we are delighted to take part in the Royal Society of Chemistry’s campaign." Dr Celia Bell, Middlesex University
Now, chemistry and chemical scientists from universities have a crucial role to play in finding alternatives to these rare elements and working out ways to extract and recycle elements from used devices.
Celia Bell, Deputy Dean of the School of Science and Technology, said: “With Middlesex University students studying courses in subjects including Biochemistry, Pharmaceutical Chemistry, Environmental Science, and Sustainability and Environmental Management, we are delighted to take part in the Royal Society of Chemistry’s campaign.
“MDX is proud to take a fresh, innovative approach to teaching science to an extremely diverse student body.
“We embrace our role engaging with the next generation of students and the wider public, to encourage them to think about the planet’s future.”
The Royal Society of Chemistry is urging people to reuse, recycle or donate their old devices to charity now if they plan to buy new tech gadgets at Christmas.
Robert Parker, CEO of the Royal Society of Chemistry, said: “This year marks the 150th anniversary of the Mendeleev Periodic Table of Elements.
“Now, over a century and a half later, many of the elements discovered are in critical danger of running out.
“We’re really pleased to have the support of some the UK and Ireland’s leading institutions in bringing the importance of the message to life – literally highlighting the responsibility we have in ensuring our old devices are properly recycled.
“In the future, they could be needed for other technologies that we haven’t even discovered yet – for health, green energy, treating pollution and more.”
The RSC is backing a planned Right to Recycle bill for tech waste, which would make it easy to dispose of unused devices.
The universities lighting up this week are Newcastle (18 Nov), Northumbria (19 Nov), University of East London (19 Nov), Keele (20 Nov), Edinburgh (20 Nov), Middlesex (21 Nov), Manchester Metropolitan (21 Nov), Trinity College Dublin (21 Nov), St Andrews (21 Nov), Southampton (22 Nov) and Nottingham (22 Nov).
For more information about Middlesex University, please visit our website: https://www.mdx.ac.uk/