Victorian recycling company Scipher Technologies mining precious metals from old electronics.
Australians have been urged to think twice before they throw away their unused electronics.
A Victorian recycling company is turning your trash into treasure by extracting precious metals from unused electronics. We’ve all got one — a drawer full of old, broken phones, unused chargers and miscellaneous cords.
Scipher Technologies, operating out of Dandenong, is urging Australians to think twice before they throw out their old electronics. The company is breathing new life into old devices, mining metals such as gold, palladium and silver from things such as old computer circuit boards, fans, cables and TVs.
“(Circuit boards) are very high value,” Scipher chief executive Chris Sayers told 7NEWS. “We extract the precious metals which are then recirculated into the economy.”
Sayers said, contrary to what most people may believe, old mobile phones — think your Nokia or BlackBerry — are “incredibly valuable”. He said there are usually about 50 different elements in a mobile phone. The older the phone, the richer in precious metals it is.
“Modern manufacturing uses less gold — it’s a more expensive material so, over time, manufacturers have reduced the amount of precious metals they use,” Sayers said.
He describes the work being done at Scipher as “urban mining” and says extracting metals such as gold from electronics is “significantly” cheaper than getting it out of the ground.
“We’re also environmentally a lot safer, the amount of Co2 released as part of our process is far, far less than primary extraction,” he said.
According to Clean Up Australia, less than one per cent of TVs and about 10 per cent of computers and laptops are recycled in Australia. More than 140,000 tonnes of electronic waste is generated by Australians every year.
“Don’t throw (your electronics) in the bin,” Sayers said. “Everyone’s got a drawer full of old phones, we’ll take them. “They’re gold for us, literally.”
Australians can contact their local council to find their closest e-waste drop-off point.
A collection service via Scipher can also be arranged, or you can drop off your items yourself.
To access the Channel 7 news article, click here »