Ok so the classic gold rush of California in the 1840’s and 1850’s may be long gone, but there is still a great need for gold today. Not only is it used for making jewellery, but gold is also a vital component in the creation of most electronics.
As gold is both a highly efficient conductor and does not tarnish or corrode, it is one of the few metals that could cope with the very low voltages that are used in electronics (so low that they could be easily interrupted by even the smallest amounts of corrosion). Therefore electronics that are made using gold are highly reliable and are now the norm in the manufacture of most electronics including computers, mobile phones, servers and many other pieces of electronic equipment.
However it is currently estimated that there is only 190,000 tons of gold left to be mined from the earth’s crust, and with current mining levels thought to be between 2,000-3,000 tons per year this means that gold is becoming an increasingly rare commodity.
But there is another plentiful source of gold. It is estimated that there is nearly 80 times as much gold in 1 ton of mobile phones alone as in an average gold mine, and that’s not to mention the amount that is held in other types of waste electronics. However it is thought that currently only 10%-15% of the gold that is held in unused or waste electronics is ever recovered, the rest either ending up in landfill or simply being left in cupboards and drawers.
The most startling fact is that there are some recycling techniques that are able to recover up to 95% of the gold used in an electronic device. The two main techniques used to recover gold from electronics are; pyrometallurgy, which burns the gold off at high temperatures, or hydrometallurgy, which uses a mix of chemicals to dissolve the gold. Admittedly some of these techniques can have negative environmental impacts of their own, but new techniques are being developed (one using acetic acid, which is found in regular table vinegar) which are much less harmful and in fact even cheaper.
However it is important to highlight that in some countries recycling processes are much less highly regulated and result in dangerous and toxic methods being used, exploiting cheap labour and often only resulting in at best 50% of the gold found in electronic items being recovered.
Therefore if you have any old, unused or unwanted electronics it is important that you not only recycle them, but recycle them correctly.
Buy IT Back specialise in recycling (or even better refurbishing and rehoming) your old computers, printers, servers and other IT and telecoms equipment. We then commit to treating them with the highest environmental standards, using cutting edge techniques to effectively and environmentally consciously recover all of their reusable components. And what’s even better – we can even pay you for doing so!
As we only actually strip down and mineral recover electronics as a last resort we are able to refurbish, recondition and resell most equipment (or the components thereof). This not only means even less waste and less energy used in the recycling process, but that we are able to pass some of the revenue that comes from the sales of refurbished items or components on to you!
So to find out more about how you can effectively, efficiently and environmentally consciously get rid of your unwanted electronics contact Buy IT Back today.