No, me hearties, we haven’t turned into pirates! We just want to tell you about wonderful treasure inside your household electrical items.
If you’ve got an unused mobile phone handset in your drawer you might just be sitting on a goldmine – literally!
As well as containing harmful heavy metals, mobile phones contain precious materials such as silver, gold and platinum. These valuable materials can be retrieved, which helps reduce mining and preserves resources.
According to the EPA, “Experts estimate that recycling 1 million cell phones can recover about 24 kg (50 lb) of gold, 250 kg (550 lb) of silver, 9 kg (20 lb) of palladium, and more than 9,000 kg (20,000 lb) of copper.”
And that’s not all.
We discovered you get 200g of gold per tonne of mobile phones, but only 5g of gold from a tonne of earth in a goldmine. Mining for gold can be really destructive to the environment as most is mined by spraying the earth with sodium cyanide to leach out the gold; which ends up in the local drinking water supplies poisoning the environment for a long time afterwards.
Watch Dr Hywel Jones from the Materials and Engineering Research Institute at Sheffield Hallam University show us the different elements in mobile phones.
But less of the depressing stuff! During Recycling Week 22nd-28th June 2015 there will be an opportunity for you can help the planet and recover valuable resources that can be made into something new.
West London Waste Authority are creating collection points to help you drop off your small electrical items such as those routers everyone gets sent when they change broadband provider, unwanted mobile phones, broken keyboards and DVD players. for more information about what you can drop of and where click here.
If you wanted to you could even organise an electrical item collection point in your neighbourhood with 123 Recycle For Free. You just need to find a business or charity near you who are happy to act as the collection point. We would love to help promote your collection!
Want to know what happens to all those precious metals after they’ve been collected. Watch this video.