For centuries, people have been interested in gold and that interest gave rise to alchemy and the quest to turn any metal not gold. That is because since people first discovered gold, they recognized its importance and wanted more. They took more and more of it and as gold mining evolved but now everyone knows that there is a finite amount of gold available and we have already mind more than half of that. Mining companies are already talking about reaching peak gold.
If you know your stories about the mythical gods or the stories we are told that are meant to teach us something about morality, you might have heard about King Midas. When the Greek king was granted one wish by Dionysus, the Greek gold, he chose to have the power of everything that he touched turn to gold. Unfortunately, that didn’t work out so well for him. Everything he touched did turn to gold and he couldn’t enjoy food or wine or a simple stroll in his garden and every one he embraced or touched turned to gold. The story of Midas is told to warn against greed but it just goes to show how obsessed human beings can be obsessed with this precious metal.
As we face the likelihood of actually running out of gold to mine in this century, people are looking at other sources of gold. Since we’ve failed at alchemy, there is still some hope that we will still have gold for more centuries to come, if we turn our attention to recycling we can still enjoy the benefits that this yellow metal has like its corrosion resistance, and conductivity which has made it quite useful in the production of electronic products and cell phones.
So far, recyclable gold is sourced from jewellery and scrap metals. Products that have been overlooked, (and maybe shouldn’t be) are electronic and cellphones. There more than a metric ton of laptop circuit boards that end up in landfills, that is a lot of gold that is simply going to waste. And then there is the multi-bullion cellphone industry. There are new models of cellphone that come out every year and on average, people do not use the same cellphone for more than 2 years. What happens to the cellphones that have become obsolete and all that gold in their circuitry?
Studies have shown that just 20% of all this useful electronic waste is recycled. The Global E-Waste Monitor projected that the electronic waste we generate will reach 52.2 million metric tonnes by 2021. This is astounding; that we are throwing away so much gold in the trash. This all boils down to education. There are many people who still do not know what to do with their old and damaged gold jewellery. People still do not know that they can sell gold jewellery that is old and broken for cash and finding gold buyers to buy gold recovered from e-waste is next to impossible.
We cannot deny the fact that we need to find other sources of gold. It has become harder to mine deeper but scientists have floated the idea of looking for gold in our oceans, the technology to do so is just not there and environmentalists already believe the oceans have been disturbed. With the process requiring chemicals, it would destroy the little that’s left of our oceans. So, we might have to increase efforts to recycle the scrap gold we already have in hand. So if you are like millions of people who have damaged gold jewellery or other gold products that have outlived their usefulness, reselling the scrap to gold buyers will not only bring you much needed cash but it might ease the demand from gold miners.