As millions of cell phones do not get recycled and instead get dumped into waste bins, a number of precious and rare metals are getting lost. The government is now taking another look on the huge quantum of metals which are being wasted on a daily basis. Cobalt and gold are just a few of the precious metals which are used in manufacture of mobile devices such as mobile phones, TVs, headphones, batteries and even laptops. Most of the mobile devices used these days actually make use of such rare earth elements and yet we keep throwing them out instead of taking advantage of schemes like mobile phone recycling.
Around 12 million tonnes of e-waste will end up in landfills between the year 2012 and 2020, if the estimates are to be believed. Out of this trash, a quarter will be the IT equipment containing 17 tonnes of iridium and 63 tonnes of palladium. Monetizing this loss at the current market prices, palladium will be worth a billion pounds while iridium will cost roughly 380 million pounds. It will not be shocking if the worth of both these elements becomes much higher in the times to come, unless of course their supply increases.
Seriously speaking, do not think that mobile phone recycling is only about the worth lost. With the pace at which our earth is being stripped off its precious resources, we will have great trouble manufacturing products in the future. If metals are gone, will we be able to make the next generation iPad for instance?