Electronic products contain precious materials such as gold and silver. The UNU reports that the various materials found in e-waste in 2014 alone were worth around US$52billion, US$10.66 billion of that was just in gold. Likewise, one metric ton of circuit boards can contain 40 to 800 times the amount of gold and 30 to 40 times the amount of copper mined from a single metric ton of ore in the United States.
However e-waste contains hundreds of substances, many of which are toxic. This includes mercury, lead, arsenic, cadmium, selenium, chromium, and flame-retardants. When e-waste is not properly dismantled these toxins leak into the air, soil and water, contaminating these for all animals and humans.
Learn more about how Japan aimed to make 2020 Olympic medals entirely out of recycled e-wastes.
Special thanks to Dangxia Chanel for creating this video.
The WE Project in Shanghai
Closer home in Shanghai, Green Initiatives’ WE Project has collected over 7 tons of e-waste till date, and through their recycling partner TES, they have extracted precious metals from these appliances and mobile phones, which otherwise would be discarded into the waste bin. Launched in May 2016 by Green Initiatives, the [WE] Project aims to provide the local community in Shanghai with a transparent, systematic and environmentally-friendly way to dispose off unwanted and broken electronic products.
Click here to read more about the WE Project.