Britain's Royal Mint has announced its intention to produce coins from waste from old gadgets. The European country plans to build a factory in Wales where it will start extracting precious metals from garbage, writes Reuters.
Gold and silver are highly conductive, so they are often used in the circuit boards of phones, laptops and other electronic equipment. The precious metals are difficult to recover from the parts, so they usually end up in landfills or incinerated along with broken or unwanted devices.
The British Mint decided to recycle waste electronics and began working with a Canadian startup Excir, which has developed chemical solutions for extracting gold and silver from microchips. The government agency noted that the technology makes it possible to obtain metals "with a high degree of purity." For the production of money this method is already used, but not on such a scale as is planned when launching a separate plant for the processing of waste. The Mint noted that the enterprise will appear in the next couple of years and will be able to turn hundreds of tons of old gadgets into hundreds of kilograms of precious metals.
Scientists have found that the amount of waste from electrical appliances around the world is growing rapidly. According to analysts' calculations, at the end of 2021 the volume of waste will reach 57.4 million tons and will exceed the weight of the Great Wall of China, and by 2030 the landfills will receive 74 million tons of unnecessary equipment. Scientists attribute the deterioration of the environmental situation to the annual increase in demand for gadgets, the short lifespan of products and poor compatibility with repairs.