There are more than 50 million tons of discarded electronics, also known as e-waste, are produced every year. In the U.S. alone, more than 30 million computers are discarded annually, and that number shows no sign of decreasing in the future.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates that only 12-15% of all e-waste is recycled, with the remainder ending up in landfills across the country. Many of these discarded electronic devices can be re-used. The rest have components and other materials that can be salvaged or recycled.
The precious metals in circuit boards, the plastic in exterior cases, and other metals, including steel, copper and aluminum, can all be recycled from old computers, printers, telephones, monitors, cameras, game consoles, and other electronic devices.
”A ton of mobile phones (approximately 6,000 units, a small fraction of the 1 billion mobile phones produced annually), contains 3.5 kilograms of silver, 340 grams of gold, 140 grams of palladium and 130 grams of copper. The average mobile phone battery contains another 3.5 grams of copper. Combined value: more than $15,000.00 at today’s prices.” *
The average amount of gold in one ton of gold ore is 5-6 grams.
* Science Daily, Sept 21, 2009