German Company Turns Cellphones into Gold

By | Apr 7, 2009
NBP Gold
Creative Commons License photo credit: covilha

Despite campaigns encouraging people to recycle their used cellular phones, most end up in landfills. In Germany, that amounts to 24 million phones per year – almost 1 for every 3 people. Aside from the obvious environmental harm caused by deteriorating batteries and plastic, the phones represent a significant economical waste – gold.

Hamburg-based company Norddeutsche Affinerie AG has made a business model out of recovering nearly 3.5 tons of gold out of electronic scrap waste, transforming it into gold bars worth over $110 million annually.

Resource-recovery is a growth industry in this poor economic climate; as more consumers get used to recycling their phones and other gadgets, more raw material can be extracted from the waste – reducing landfill clutter and providing resources for new technologies while reducing the need to strip the earth.

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