Once you start to see the world around you as a finite resource your eye soon becomes very attune to the massive amount of waste we produce and how much of that waste is usable materials. Copper, silver, gold and aluminium are finite resources that you probably don’t think too much about in your ordinary day. Let me present some very real statistics to give you some idea of what the world of mining and technology is up to.
After you have read this and watched the videos, may you think harder about discarding your electronic equipment. Maybe you might make more effort to keep it maintained, free it of too much useless information or just don’t bother to replace it – better still, have a go at recycling the precious metals and use the plastic for a craft project in the future. Yes I know we won’t get rich by extracting the precious metals from our computers, but why throw it away to become landfill??
The present cycle of production in reality is mine and discard. That is, dig up and process all our precious metal resources then produce products that are designed to fail (inbuilt obsolescence) which ultimately end up discarded to create mountains of waste. This is the accepted current model of a Growth Economy. The beast is about to run out of food.
COPPER and COMPUTERS
Total world production of copper is about 15 million tons per year. Copper demand is increasing by more than 575,000 tons annually and accelerating.
According to the Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition, an “average” desktop computer will have about 2.12 kgs of copper inside.
Computers sold Worldwide this year = 220,000,000 (and rising)
According to estimates by the US Environmental Protection Agency, around 40 million computers are discarded each year in the US alone.
That’s 84,800 tonnes of copper alone discarded every year. Most of it into land fill.
There is also, Gold, Silver, Steel and Aluminium found inside your computer – all mined from Mother Earth.
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