From Trash to Treasures
In recent news, Britain’s coin-maker, The Royal Mint, plans to start recycling discarded electronics such as laptops, cellphones, and other items to extract precious metals embedded within the electronic hardware. The Royal Mint, established over 1,100 years ago, supports over 30 countries and makes over 3.3 billion coins per year. Partnering with Excir, a Canadian start-up company that chemically extracts metals from electronic waste, the Royal Mint is building a plant that can reclaim hundreds of kilograms of gold and other metals embedded in circuit boards and other hardware. The goal of the extraction plant is to prevent materials from ending up in landfills or processing and ultimately incinerating at offshore facilities. Excir states their process “is an extremely mild and eco-friendly solution that can be recycled with negligible environmental impact.”
While plant development won’t start for some time, this process will help with the overwhelming amount of electronic waste each year. These precious metals within components contribute to the growing pile of electronic components thrown away globally, creating a total of 53.6 million tons of electronic waste in one year. According to the United Nations Institute of Training and Research, less than 20 percent of that waste gets recycled, leaving around $57 billion worth of precious metals being thrown away every year.
“The potential of this technology is huge, reducing the impact of electronic waste, preserving precious commodities, and forging new skills which help drive a circular economy,” Anne Jessopp, The Royal Mint’s chief executive officer, said in a statement.
According to a 2019 report from the World Economic Forum, there is 100 times as much gold in a ton of cellphones than in a ton of gold ore. With current gold prices at $1,750 per ounce, there is a significant opportunity for the industry to find new revenue streams and cost savings.
Now more than ever, it is vital for our industry to continue to innovate ways of powering the circular economy and developing sustainable methods of repurposing electronics.
Solve the Future.
Read more here:
Global E-waste Surging: Up 21 per cent in 5 Years | UNITAR
Britain’s Royal Mint to extract gold from discarded electronics | Reuters
Britain’s Royal Mint to turn trash to treasure by recovering gold from discarded electronics (msn.com)