Is there really gold and silver in old electrical and electronic appliances?

You have every interest in turning in your old electro-appliances. Because really, what good does an attic or cellar full of unusable material do you, anyway? But there´s more to it than just gaining a bit more free space at home: some appliances contain tiny particles of precious metal.

And when the whole country sorts correctly, together we can counter the threat of resource scarcity.

Some discarded appliances contain hazardous substances. Freon gas in refrigerators, cadmium in batteries, lead in TV sets … That’s Recupel’s first job when dismantling: skilfully removing harmful components.

But certain parts (such as PC motherboards) contain a whole lot of valuable metals, like gold, silver, platinum, palladium, titanium …

These precious metals are purified and melted down for new use. In this way they serve e.g. for making cables and new electronic components. One of the things that is so special about them is that they never lose their quality; you can literally process them over and over. So they´re ideal for building a circular economy!

Note that these are always very tiny particles. So unfortunately, there’s no point for you, as a normal user, to hang on to your old computers or mobile phones and dismantle them yourself.

But by turning them in you’re doing the environment, society and future generations a great service. Big talk? Not really.

Did you know that it is more interesting to recover minimal quantities of gold from electrical and electronic waste than to extract gold from mines?

  • 1 tonne of mined gold ore will produce 3 grams of gold.
  • 1 tonne of mobile phones will produce 300 grams of gold.

Moreover, gold is a scarce resource. Scientists estimate that the world´s gold supplies will run out sometime between 2050 and 2150.

So it’s important to recover as much of it as possible. Urban mining - the recovery of precious metals from dumped electro-appliances - increasingly appears to be a step in the right direction.