Can We Recycle Waste into a Pot of Gold?
With millions of pounds worth of precious metals being thrown away each year, Marie Turbill asks, could recycling your old electrical goods be the solution to one of UK manufacturers’ biggest risks – a shortage of raw materials?
MOST of us would have to be hard-pressed to throw away a pot of gold.
But that is exactly what is happening every year as millions of pounds worth of precious metals are thrown out in the UK.
The precious elements such as gold, cobalt and neodymium, are used in everyday electronic equipment.
But their hidden booty is lost when the consumer goods end up in landfill.
At the same time manufacturers are increasingly reliant on metals from abroad – with chief executives citing a materials shortage as one of this year’s top risks.
“We throw away a million tonnes of electrical and electronic waste every year in the UK,” said Mark Penny, commercial manager at Hartlepool-based J&B Recycling.
“It has been estimated that the total amount of waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) in the UK is 1.8 million tonnes each year, of which approximately 51% comes from domestic users.