We are all aware that electronic waste is growing as fast as technology does and Junk N Dump helps clients with the correct disposal of it. We were excited, though, to read about an innovative approach to e-waste that is under development ‒ a meal of electronic waste!
New Zealand Driven E-Waste Innovation
This ground-breaking research is being done right here in New Zealand! A clean-tech firm is researching biological processes for extracting metals from used resources such as e-waste.
The process starts with the discarded items being ground down to the size of sand granules. This exposes the maximum amount of surface area for biological processes to act on. The leaching action can be used on the metals from computer chips, for example.
After the discarded waste is ground into its granular form, a chemistry step is applied, and the waste is dissolved and passed through a filter. Next, the biology step occurs when microbes are introduced into the dissolved solution. The atoms, from a metal such as gold, for example, are ‘devoured’ by the microbes carried away in the solution. These gold-bonded microbes are then harvested with a filter and, after a few more steps, the final extraction delivers pure gold.
The Value Achieved
The extraction process is expensive; however, the value extracted makes it a viable new industry for companies with the laboratories and equipment. It is estimated that nearly half of the value of electronic waste sits in the gold that it contains.
The published research states that a greater concentration of gold is “mined” from electronic waste than from traditional gold ore mining.
The microbe methodology is under further research to leverage its effectiveness with other sources of waste. This is GREAT news for us! Avoiding landfills is always the first step in being environmentally friendly.
At Junk N Dump, we assist clients with redistributing their waste to organisations that can repurpose them, thereby avoiding landfills!
The munching microbes will be tested on palladium and other metals embedded in automobile components.
Innovation like this, combined with repurposing, reducing consumption and packaging and ethical purchasing, will go a long way towards saving our beautiful, blue (and green) planet.
Contact us to pick up and sort out your electronic waste in the most eco-friendly way possible.