Turning Electronic Waste into Gold – The Solution to ‘E-Waste Guilt’?
The Royal Mint has revealed plans to build a “world-first” plant in South Wales to recover gold from UK electronic waste. The pioneering facility will help address the growing environmental issue of E-Waste, alongside fostering invaluable skills in Britain’s job market When complete in 2023, the new venture will support about 40 jobs. The Royal Mint aims to recover gold within circuit boards using patented new chemistry from the Canadian company Excir. All going well, the plant will be capable of recovering more than 99 percent of the precious metals contained within electronic waste – and can even selectively target different metals in seconds. The plant is expected to process up to 90 tonnes of UK-sourced circuit boards per week when fully operational – generating hundreds of kilograms of gold per year.
Anne Jessop, chief executive of The Royal Mint, said: “We are transforming our business for the future – expanding into areas which complement our expertise in precious metals, champion sustainability, and support employment. Our investment in a new plant will see The Royal Mint become a leader in sustainably sourced precious metals and provide the UK with a much-needed domestic solution to the growing problem of electronic waste.“
At ‘Repair Don’t Waste’, we know all too well the scale of E-Waste worldwide, and the desperate need for a widespread solution as soon as possible. And although the Royal Mint recycling plant is an exciting prospect for many, it does not address the root of the issue – why are we wasting electronics rather than repairing them?
When PCB boards are recycled, new boards are required to replace them – costing money, time, and more natural resources. Alternatively, when a circuit board is repaired by testing and replacing only the faulty and mostly inexpensive components using the right diagnostic tools and standards, the cost is lowered significantly both financially and in terms of resources required.
Component-level testing can detect faulty devices
Recycling circuit boards can help individuals and companies to offset their ‘E-Waste guilt’ – but why not avoid it all together, with an even more environmentally (and financially) friendly solution? This attitude is what we at ‘Repair, Don’t Waste’ aim to foster in companies and the wider community, by providing information and resources on how in-house repairs are achievable and beneficial to a multitude of industrial sectors.
E-Waste, whether it be recycled or not, continues to propel the pervasive attitude of Waste and Replace – which is no longer sustainable. Our movement offers a real working model of an alternative strategy: saving you time, money, and our planet.