Instead, silver-recycling is subsumed by the category of "old silver scrap" sales, which primarily consists of ordinary people pawning their sterling silver tableware and tea services. Yet even when we combine the pawning and actual "recycling" of silver into a single category, we see an anemic rise of little more than 25% while the price of silver increased 600%.
Half of that increase occurred in 2011 alone, when the price of silver briefly spiked to a (nominal) 30-year high. With the price of silver now more than 30% below that peak, we will likely see that recycling/scrap sales of silver fell in 2012.
We live in an era of recycling mania, yet silver recycling is nearly as depressed as the silver mining industry itself. Why is this? Severe underpricing of silver is the only possible explanation.
With silver inventories having collapsed while platinum inventories remain abundant, we collectively have a much greater motive/incentive to recycle silver than to recycle platinum. With silver being used in some of our most-important emerging technologies (everything from cruise missiles to solar-panel cells to unique anti-microbial compounds), we have a much greater incentive to recycle silver than to recycle platinum.
Again, there is only one possible explanation as to why platinum recycling is exploding while silver recycling is extremely depressed: The gross underpricing of silver. In
I have pointed out how the permanently depressed state of silver mining is absolute proof of silver-price suppression.
For more than 4,000 years, most of the world's silver came from "primary" silver mining. It was only after the price of silver was driven (manipulated) to a
(in real dollars) that global silver mining collapsed in the 1990's, with more than 90% of the world's silver mines bankrupted. Even after the partial recovery in silver prices, most of these mines remain closed.
With recycling being the "other component" of supply, we have completely independent verification of this principle of logic/economics previously expressed. The only possible reason why the supply of silver remains in a permanent state of depression -- despite the complete collapse of inventories -- is because of the permanent suppression of the price.