Dig it up to make canyons …. then throw it away to make mountains.

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.


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.

How to recover Gold with Aqua Regia  from India


other links



Recycling Keyboards for Silver – How To

Recycling Computers for Precious Metals – How To

City of Sydney E-waste collection

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s