In the past couple of decades, the world has become increasingly engulfed in mobile devices. Many of us now depend on said devices to go through our everyday routines, with phones probably being one of the best examples. One might even say they sit at the top of the mobile device food chain.
Unfortunately, though, smartphones and some of the other products we buy are not meant to last for more than a few years. That means electronic waste gets piled up rather quickly, and statistics show that it is getting quicker by the year.
There is some light in the tunnel, however, thanks to a new technology discovered by the Canadian startup company Excir. Excir has figured out a way to effectively recycle gold of up to 999.9 purity from electronic waste.
The UK is the first to the e-waste gold rush
What Excir has achieved is so impressive that the UK coin maker—the Royal Mint Limited—has signed an agreement with it, reports the BBC. The agreement states that Excir will recover at least 99% of the gold inside the circuit boards of e-waste products. Apparently, all of this is achievable thanks to a chemical treatment that can extract the precious metal in a matter of seconds. With enough funding and development of this new technology, it could even become capable of doing the same with other materials such as silver, copper, and palladium.
Chief executive of the mint Anne Jessopp describes the potential of this new technology as “huge”. The chief growth officer Sean Millard has also stated it is “revolutionary”.
The mint states that estimates show electronic waste that will accumulate just in 2021 will likely weigh more than 57 million tonnes, with this number going to 73 million tonnes by 2030 if no action is taken.
Currently, approximately only one-fifth of all e-waste ends up being recycled. With the help of Excir’s discovery, this number can become much higher since it offers easier and faster results.