‘More Gold In Electronic Scrap Than In Gold Ore’-Problem of E-Waste

recycl.pngWaste disposal in emerging economies is a huge problem and it requires full attention not only from the citizens, but also from relevant stakeholders, including business organisations and governments.

Recently, i came across an interesting article by Mckinsey, discussing some appropriate  and sustainable approaches, governments and individuals would take to minimise waste and health risks and increase profitability ( or atleast improve income streams).  The article highlights a few approaches that can be applied to turn waste streams into profitable streams. ( Read the full article here)

An interesting example i found in that article was about  ‘e-waste’ (also electronic waste) which according to United Nations University is the  ‘waste precious metals ‘ found on electronics  and  apparently, it contains more precious deposits than the ‘ores mined from the ground’.  There are large numbers of electronic gadgets such as cell phones, PCs, tablets, etc which use precious metals such as silver and gold.  According to sources, these gadgets are valued an approximate of  $21 billion ($16 billion in gold and $5 billion in silver) are hidden in our collective electronics. Unfortunately, only less than 15% of that is likely to be recovered from e-waste in many developing countries.-Ouch! Especially if you think of the rising price of gold.

Nevertheless, even though waste is growing faster than most of the developing countries can deal with, there are many waste-management solutions innovative measures  that could apply. For example, collective e-waste to help avail material for re-use should be taken into consideration.

Experts, however add that  e-waste  should not be seen as a burden but as an opportunity to generate income. And instead of branding it as ‘waste management’ it should be known as’resource management’- I agree.


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