Electronic-waste recycling, not mining the Earth

5/8/2022 5:31:48 PM
Scientists announced that since mining the Earth for precious metals to make new gadgets is unsustainable, the recycling of e-waste must urgently be ramped up.

In light of a recent study, the world's mountain of discarded electronics, in 2021 alone, is estimated to weigh 57 million tonnes.

There now needs to be a global effort to mine that waste, rather than mining the Earth, the Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) says.

In addition, global conflicts also pose a threat to supply chains for precious metals.

The RSC is running a campaign to draw attention to the unsustainability of continuing to mine all the precious elements used in consumer technology.

It points out that geopolitical unrest, including the war in Ukraine, has caused huge spikes in the price of materials like nickel, a key element in electric vehicle batteries.

This volatility in the market for elements is causing "chaos in supply chains" that enable the production of electronics. Combined with the surge in demand, this caused the price of lithium, which is another important component in battery technology, to increase by almost 500% between 2021 and 2022.

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