Honda announced in a press release last week that the Japanese auto manufacturer will begin recycling the rare earth materials from Nickel-Metal-Hydride batteries used in their hybrid vehicles.

Honda has partnered with Japan Metals & Chemicals to create a process that will recycle rare earth materials.  Honda believes that the process will return 80 percent or more of the rare elements utilized in Nickel-Metal-Hydride batteries, which will be used to create new batteries.

The 17 rare materials, including Yttrium, Lanthanum, Gadolinium and Thulium, are used in many common household electronics, such as TVs, microwaves, cameras and computers.  Honda plans to apply this same process toward the recycling of in-car electronics that use the same materials.

China supplies 90 percent of rare earth materials to the global market, and the Asian nation has reported the reserves are dwindling at a worrying rate.  Honda’s efforts could set precedence for other manufacturers and could help to sustain the world’s rare earth material deposits.

This is just the latest environmental effort from Honda, whose ultimate goal is to harness renewable energy. “In the long term, we hope to move to renewable energy sources that won’t harm the environment,” said Honda President, Takanobu Ito.