Hear from CIOs, CTOs, and other C-level and senior execs on data and AI strategies at the Future of Work Summit this January 12, 2022. Learn more

medium_3515869341Every year, we toss out 152 million mobile phones, 52 million computers, and 36 million monitors. That’s a massive ecological problem — but it’s also a massive revenue opportunity.

Because each year, a staggering $21 billion worth of gold and silver goes into the electronics we buy.

Gold & Silver Buyers, one of the many we’ll-buy-your-gold firms that have sprung up in the last few years, says that the precious metal content of our throwaway devices is up to 50 times higher than the ore in a gold mine. And with 50 million tons of electronics waste every year, that’s a lot of coin going in the garbage.

Urban miners can reclaim most of the 320 tons of gold and 7.5 tons of silver that is embedded into each year’s crop of iPhones and tablets by processing the waste. One of the biggest centers is in Guiyou, China, which processes 1.5 million tons a year, taking $75 million out of trash on an annual basis.

All the data, in visual form:

Urban Mining

photo credit: Madison Guy via photopin cc


VentureBeat's mission is to be a digital town square for technical decision-makers to gain knowledge about transformative technology and transact. Our site delivers essential information on data technologies and strategies to guide you as you lead your organizations. We invite you to become a member of our community, to access:
  • up-to-date information on the subjects of interest to you
  • our newsletters
  • gated thought-leader content and discounted access to our prized events, such as Transform 2021: Learn More
  • networking features, and more
Become a member