The U.S. EPA estimates that recycling 1 million mobile phones reclaims 35,274 pounds of copper, 772 pounds of silver, 75 pounds of gold, and 33 pounds of palladium. To more easily recover these rare, expensive and potentially harmful materials from mobile device and other forms of e-waste, researchers are looking for help from nature’s own decomposition specialists: fungi.
Searching for non-toxic electronics recycling alternatives, VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland has developed a biological filter made of mushroom mycelium mats that could reclaim as much as 80% of the gold in e-scrap.
Recovery of gold has been the most successful but researchers are also looking at ways to extract copper from circuit boards by floating and filtering the e-waste rather than through smelting.
Using biosorbents such as fungi and algae, the Finnish lab demonstrated that more than 80% of the gold in the solution clung to the biomass, compared with only 10% to 20% of gold recovery when implementing most commonly used, yet harmful chemical preparations.
The researchers have not gone into too much detail of the process using fungi, but at the system progresses, this method of electronics recycling is predicted to recover significantly more precious metals than previous methods.
More than 140,000,000 mobile phones go to the landfill each year, while only 10% are recycled each year. Until new methods, including fungi filtering, are perfected, utilizing a certified ITAD partner to effectively handle your company’s mobile device recycling is critical. HOBI International clients trust our best practices in responsible electronics recycling and have peace of mind that our recycling services are in complete compliance with environmental and government regulations.
HOBI developed a processing system that ensures all hazardous and non-hazardous materials are recovered in an environmentally sound manner, eliminating risk for our valued clients. Our top-tier process for electronics recycling and demanufacturing is designed for recovering the most value from precious resources left in mobile devices, minimizing the need for mineral mining.