Earthly/Geo/Astro · Eco/Adaptable · Public Space · Technology

Urban Mining: Finding Precious Minerals in Consumer Gadgets

“You might not know it but there are veins of precious minerals that are richer than any goldmine, running through our cities. In fact, you might even have some in your pocket – but we’re not just talking about gold rings or jewelry, we’re talking about personal electronics.

Today, we live in an age of plenty in which we are happy to dispose of our electronic consumables when they become tired, either for an upgrade or because it is cheaper to replace them than it is to repair them.

All this just leaves clutter on our hands; who is ever going to use a 10-year-old cell phone, after all, let alone consider buying one from you in order to use it? Contrary to what you might think, there probably is someone out there who really would like to buy your phone not to sign-up to a cheap call plan but to strip it of the valuable materials used to build it, from iridium and indium, to antimony and bismuth. With mineral prices at an all time high, now is a better time than ever to get mining.

Furthermore, there are also two very good green reasons to recycle your phone. Firstly, there are only so many materials in the world, and if we continue to consume them, then eventually there will simply be no more of them. While microchips and green technology are changing the way that we live, we only have finite resources with which to build them. Secondly, if you do dispose of your phone or your mp3 player, then it will simply be adding to the mountains of waste that are disposed of every year. All the better, then, to feed it back into the system!”

Text and Images via Urban Mining

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