Germans are tossing 24 million cell phones on to the scrap heap every year, according to Bloomberg News. That’s one mobile for every three people in the country. That’s not just wasteful, it’s also costly.
Cell phones can be melted down and stripped for their gold, which is what precious-metals refinery Norddeutsche Affinerie does. The company extracts 3.5 tons of gold from trashed mobiles and other waste each year for $110 million. The 24 million phones Germans chuck have half a ton of gold in them, indicating that Germans are wasting $15.7 million a year throwing out their phones.
While there are laws in Germany to prevent the waste of electronic goods they clearly aren’t being enforced very strictly. But we’re not trying to pick on Germany, we all do it. And with gold prices soaring, we all look like idiots.
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