Recycling gold from e-waste is a great alternative to consigning old electronics to landfills.
According to a United Nations report published in 2019 the world produces as much as 50 million tonnes (metric tons) of electronic waste every year.
These are items that can hurt the environment and lead to bigger landfills. In many cases, electronics can be salvaged for parts or recycled so that companies can save money.
Many businesses and individuals are also learning how to recover value from e-waste. Electronics often contain precious metals like gold, copper, or aluminum. If mined on a big scale, that could mean a big profit on the international gold market.
Keep reading below if you want to learn more about mining gold from e-waste. We’ll discuss how it’s being done, whether there is any profit in this industry, what normally happens to your old electronics, and how these operations can help the environment.
How You Can Literally ‘Mine’ Gold From E-Waste
The fact is natural resources like precious metals are limited and expensive. Nevertheless, gold, copper, silver, and aluminum are used in electronics because they are highly conductive.Gold is soft and pliable, making it ideal for use in different designs. And finally, gold is also resistant to tarnishing.
There is now a growing trend calling “urban mining” where people are recycling gold from e-waste. The devices being recycled may include:
- Old mobile phones
- Video game consoles
- Outdated stereos
- Obsolete computer equipment
- Defunct printers.
Some miners claim you can get more gold from a metric ton of electronic waste than actual ore. The process is already being done all over the world.
For example, the metal from six million mobile phones and 79,000 metric tons of electronic waste was used to make 5,000 medals for the Olympic games between 2017 and 2019.
Advocates of recovering value from old electronics want to see it being done on a bigger scale. And by regular people who stand to profit off the sale of precious metals.
Can You Make Money From E-Waste Mining?
So here is the big question: is it profitable to recycle gold from e-waste?
A new report found that the amount of global e-waste could reach 74 million metric tons by the year 2030. This is a doubling of e-waste over the span of 16 years.
People are also consuming more electronics in their lifetimes, including smartphones, high-definition televisions, or laptops.
The supply of e-waste is there for someone to make a big profit but the challenge for companies and individuals is to find an efficient and cost-effective way to harvest it.
Only 17.4% of the e-waste from 2019 was recycled, according to this report. This means $57 billion worth of discarded electronics was never collected. These numbers alone show there’s a huge opportunity for anyone looking to enter the e-waste mining market.
The trick to e-waste mining on a larger scale is developing more technological ways to process the old electronics. In many countries, it’s done by hand, which can be harmful to people and the local environment. Besides the metals inside, there are also harmful toxins that need to be properly disposed of.
What Happens To Your Old Electronics
If you’re just hearing about e-waste mining now, you’re probably wondering what’s been happening to your electronics all these years?
For many years old electronics ended up in garbage heaps and landfills. This was wasteful because often parts of an older model can still be used. It’s also harmful to the environment.
More recently, consumers began recycling their old electronics. Major companies like Samsung and Verizon have started offering customers the opportunity to recycle their old phones. They are more likely to salvage parts and reuse them in new phones.
Other items may be considered valuable in vintage markets or in the case of smaller parts can be used for repairs.
When old electronics are recycled, a technician will examine each item to see if any part can be recycled. Any unusable parts are shipped to a recycling center where they’re put through a shredder.
Recycling plants use an optical sorting system to go through the shredded pieces and separate them into different containers for plastic, metal, and computer chips. These items are then offered for sale.
These processes are taking millions of metric tons of waste out of landfills.
Environmental Benefits of Recovering Gold From E-Waste
We’ve talked a lot about how much money you can make by recycling old electronics, but let’s look deeper at the environmental benefits. After all, we only have one planet.
Here are the reasons homes and businesses should recycle e-waste.
First, any time waste can be diverted from a landfill or incinerator is a win for the environment. Burning trash causes air pollution and leaving it in landfills can result in the contamination of groundwater. It also means communities can reclaim the land they would’ve used for waste.
Sustainability and clean energy are the future. Like the solar or wind energy industries, recycling creates high-paying jobs in local communities. The more recycling that’s done, the more people who can be hired to collect and process the items.
Businesses can earn money and save on purchasing new electronics by recycling their e-waste or entering into an electronics trade-in program with a vendor.
And, finally, once someone has a positive experience with recycling their old electronics, they may extend their thinking into other environmentally-friendly initiatives around the house or in their local communities. They could install solar panels, plant a community garden, or pick up trash on the beach.
Start Recycling Your E-Waste Gold!
After reading this article you should have a better understanding of how to mine gold from e-waste. But rather than try to extract the gold on your own you can take your old electronics to a company that specializes in this type of recycling where they can be disposed of safely.
Potomac eCycle has been in the business of recycling old electronics since 2008. We have recycled over five million pounds of electronics, operating in our state-of-the-art 20,000 square-foot processing facility.
Contact us now to get more information on recycling e-waste.