The Electronic Waste Gold Mine
Millions of dollars worth of gold and silver and sitting in landfills around the world. The precious metals are hidden away in the components that make up our outdated laptops, cellphones and other discarded electronics. As the demand for new technology grows, so does the amount of obsolete hardware. With proper recycling techniques, these metals can be recovered and resold for big profits in a process known as "urban mining."
Just How Much Profit?
According to the Global e-Sustainability Initiative, the amount of gold and silver being used in today's electronics worldwide is staggering.
= $21 billion dollars worth of gold and silver are used to make electronics every year
The Increasing Value of Urban Mining
Precious metals recovered from electronic waste can be up to 50x richer than ores mined from the ground.
Electronic waste can yield between...
grams of gold / metric ton
Up to 50 million tons of electronic waste are estimated to be scrapped every year worldwide.
Electronic Waste Breakdown, 2010
* in million units
Mobile devices 152
Keyboards & mice 82.2
Hard copy devices 33.6
Largest Electronic Waste Processing Center
1.5 million tons of e-waste are processed each year, generating...
$75 million in revenue