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Electronic Waste Contains Gold, Silver

Electronic Waste Contains Gold, Silver

Friday, 15 December, 2017 - 08:30
Overall, 41.8 million tons of ‘e-waste’ were dumped around the globe in 2014 and only an estimated 6.5 million tons were taken for recycling. Photo: REUTERS

A new UN report has said that wastes of electronic devices worldwide contain gold, silver, and other raw materials that can be valued at more than 55 million euros ($63.5 billion) yearly if recycled.

According to the report of the International Telecommunication Union of the United Nations, out of 44.7 million tons of electronic waste in 2016, only 20 percent were recycled.

The German news agency said e-wastes include mobile phones, laptops, electronic toys and other products. The amount is expected to increase by 17 percent annually within the next five years.

The Union urged countries all over the world to take advantage of the great wealth generated by e-waste, not only by recycling rare metals found in them, but also by using other elements, as part of the so-called circular economy, such as the renewal of used products.

"The concept of a circular economy offers economic opportunities and significant investment of e-waste management," said the report of the ITU. The secondary materials found in these wastes represent about 55 billion euros annually.

According to 2016 data, Asia, Europe and the Americas are the world's most productive areas of electronic waste, while the Pacific region is the least productive.

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