Is it profitable to recycle gold from electronic devices?

It doesn’t cost much to make a lot money… but electronics is one of the biggest users of gold. Many of the obsolete electronics are still in use today, with many TVs, computers and phones only having a five-year lifespan.

Unfortunately, the gold can also be contaminated with many other dangerous chemicals. Lead is a particular danger but so are other heavy metals. There are other valuable materials, such as gold, silver palladium, and copper. The EPA estimates that 1 million cell phones can be recycled for approximately 24 kg (50 lb), 250 kg (550 lb), and copper.
Silver, 9 kg (20 lb), palladium and more than 9,000 kg (20,000).
Copper, lb

E-Waste Has More Gold than Gold Ore

Other side products must be disposed of or resold. You also need to ensure the safety and environment of your employees. This can also be costly. You are competing with third-world countries that exploit the environment and labor.

Last but not least, gold should be used sparingly. Only plating to contact points is allowed and thicknesses in microinches are used. I can recall that 10 to 20 microinches was a common thickness. There isn’t much on modern boards… but a lot more was used during the 60’s, 70’s, when electronics was industrial stuff.

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