Everyone has heard about the damage single use plastics are doing to the environment and work must be done to change it.
It is, however, not the only thing we are dumping into our planets ecosystems. Electronic devices may be seen as too difficult to recycle efficiently and are often dumped. However, they are full of potentially valuable components.
Urban mining is the process of extracting valuable metallic components from waste electronics and it is potentially big business. Not only does urban mining reduce the amount of waste being dumped, it creates jobs and reduces the demand for traditionally mined metals, a process which itself can be damaging for the environment.
The industrial revolution was built on innovation and drove society forward. Perhaps ideas like this can have a similar impact whilst also cleaning up the environment!
According to a study published recently in the journal Environmental Science & Technology, a typical cathode-ray tube TV contains about 450g of copper and 227g of aluminium, as well as around 5.6g of gold. While a gold mine can generate five or six grammes of the metal per tonne of raw material, that figure rises to as much as 350g per tonne when the source is discarded electronics.