Experts call for better precious metal recovery from waste

Experts call for better precious metal recovery from waste

09.07.2012 Accra / Bonn / Milan - The Gold- and silver treasure in electronic equipment grows and grows: Each year 310 Tons of gold and 7.500 Tons of silver with a value of 21 Billion. Dollars in high-tech devices such as laptops, Smartphones oder Tablets verbaut. The majority of these precious metals - 85 Percent - but fizzles after the end of life of the gadget and only 15 Percent recovered, Expert report on the e-waste Academy der United Nations University (UNU) und der Global e-Sustainability Initiative in Ghana.

Raw material rather than waste

So far, the e-waste issue discussed mostly in terms of harmful effects on developing countries. Wrongly, Ruediger Kuehr says, Head of the Solving the E-Waste Problem (StEP)-Initiative . "Most of you can see, that e-waste contains many valuable elements, that are recyclable. In addition, forget about the reuse of the plastic parts will be. "A ton of recycled plastic obtained by requiring only a tenth of the water- energy and amount of new plastic and saves a lot of CO2.

In particular, the focus is however on the rare earths. The stronger the sale of electrical and electronic equipment is booming, the more gold, Silver and other precious metals are available, that could be recovered through recycling. Consume only in gold gadgets 7,7 Percent of annual global output, much more than the 5,3 Percent in 2001. At the same time increased the price per ounce of 300 on 1.500 Dollar, However, just to the global promotion 15 Percent of 3.900 on 4.500 Tons.

Affordability as a barrier

The reclamation of technology is highly complex, says UNU expert Federico Magalini. "Precious metals are needed in tiny doping, to increase the functionality of devices. That some memory cards getting smaller, cheaper and more powerful, are due to the platinum group metal ruthenium. "The more complex the processing, the more difficult but also the recycling. As "not effective" two experts to assess the construction of large recycling plants in each country. Meaningful are rather similar specialization in the production.

Not "technically, but only from the perspective of affordability is the 100-percent recovery is a problem ", emphasizes Kühr. Policy Planning, Application of sustainable consumption, recyclable equipment design and equipment for customer incentives were needed to place a mere hope of investor interest, because: "The recycling rate is already so far not as fast as the price of gold increased. Is it just profit, Only the lightest measures implemented. One day it will be asked in retrospect, Today, just as we were so short-sighted waste the natural resources. "


This entry was posted in Rare earth and recycling and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply