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Fortunes In Gold And Silver Could Be ‘Urban Mined’ From Our E-Waste


A report released last week has some shocking and intriguing news about throwing away computers, mobile phones, and other electronic devices. It turns out that our high production of electronic waste (e-waste) now contains as much as 40-50 times the amount of gold found from mining the ground, where it originally came from.

According to the report by the Global e-Sustainability Initiative and the United Nations University, the electronics industry used a massive 320 tons of gold and 7,500 tons of silver in 2011, nearly $21 billion in value. When bringing in the fact that today’s computers have less gold in them than those created 30 years ago, the logic sounds a big skewed. However, we are making and using way more electronics and everything is becoming computerized. Even your brand new blender has a microchip containing gold.

Unfortunately, less than 15 percent of gold from e-waste is recovered through recycling. This means we are throwing away a LOT of gold without even thinking twice about it, especially now that it’s the norm to simply upgrade a phone or tablet whenever a newer version comes out.

Can you imagine what we would think if we found out our grandparents used to casually throw away something so valuable? That’s how our kids or grandkids may see us because, hopefully by then someone will have taken advantage of this huge business opportunity.

What’s your go-to way of disposing of electronics? I prefer to sell them and get what I can out of it, but if it was toast and there was no way I could even hand it down to someone else, there is no way I’d simply throw something away.

By the way, to find an electronics recycler near you, visit Earth911.

via GESI
Image CC licensed by U.S. Army Environmental Command: e-cycling

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