E-Waste News: 13 times cheaper to extract metals from e-waste than to mine them.
A study published in Environmental Science & Technology this week finally has an answer, suggesting that urban mining of electronic waste for copper and gold in China was actually more cost-effective than digging those metals out of the ground.
Recycling electronics has been an option for some time, but data comparing the cost of a recycled ingot of gold with a mined ingot of gold werent available.
By looking at information from eight recycling plants in China they found that factoring in subsidies provided by the government, it was about 13 times cheaper to extract metals from waste than to mine them.
Thats a hopeful sign, as accessible mineral deposits including gold deposits become rarer and technological requirements of electronics make recycling gold more difficult.