The problem of wasted precious metals is not new. In fact, it is as old as the mining and smelting of these metals. But, in recent years, the problem has become more acute.
The world’s mines produce a staggering amount of gold, silver, and other precious metals each year for many uses, and while the environmental impact of such activities is severe, there’s one bigger problem: electronic waste. Our electronics rely on precious metals to run, and unfortunately, barely any of these electronics make it to the recycling process. As such, we’re essentially throwing away precious metals and a lot at that!
How Much Precious Metals Are We Throwing Away Each Year?
Did you know that at least $10bn (yes, billion) worth of gold, silver, and other precious metals are thrown each and every year? That’s what the UN claims, focusing on the mountain of electronic waste that’s piling up. In fact, back in 2019, a record 54m tonnes of electronic waste was thrown by the world. That’s up by around 21% in five years alone, and with how much more we rely on electronic devices today, one can only imagine how big that figure is now. To make matters worse, less than 1/4th of the thrown waste ever makes it to the recycling process.
How Does E-Waste Hurt Our Environment?
Not only is e-waste an economic problem, but also an environmental one:
1. Contaminating Soil and Water
E-waste contains many harmful chemicals, including heavy metals like lead, mercury, and cadmium. When these chemicals leach into the soil and water, they can contaminate our food and water supplies.
2. Polluting the Air
When e-waste is incinerated, it releases harmful chemicals into the air. These chemicals can cause respiratory problems, and they can also contribute to climate change.
3. Harming Wildlife
E-waste can also be harmful to wildlife. Animals can be exposed to harmful chemicals when they eat or drink contaminated water or food. They can also be injured or killed by electronic waste that is not properly disposed of.
4. Taking up Landfill Space
E-waste takes up a lot of space in our landfills. In fact, it is estimated that e-waste makes up about 2% of our landfill space. This is a problem because it takes up valuable space that could be used for other waste.
5. Losing Valuable Materials
When e-waste is not properly recycled, we lose valuable materials that can be used to make new products. For example, copper, gold, and silver can all be recycled from e-waste. Failure to do so not only motivates more mining of such materials but hurts the environment even more so in the process.
As we can see, e-waste and precious metals go hand-in-hand, and when one is wasted, so is the other. As such, if you handle a lot of electronics and need to get rid of them, you need to do so properly. We highly recommend that you reach out to a recycling service that offers equipment disposal solutions. This not only encourages you to recycle your electronics for the better of the economy and environment but also ensures that electronic products are safely and properly recycled!
Beyond Surplus offers an easy and reliable solution for IT equipment disposal and electronics recycling to bring the best recycling experience to customers. If you are looking for Electronics Recycling Drop Off, get in touch with us today.