Urban mining is a term used to described the process of reclaiming the compounds and elements in building, products and waste. Apparently 1 gramme of gold can be reclaimed from 41 mobile phones Unfortunately precious metals and base metals are needed more and more in the production of technological gadgets. Electrical goods nowadays have a life span of only a couple of years before it becomes e-waste, as the technology advances so fast the consumer feels the need, for different reasons to constantly update his collection of electronic gadgets The problem is not going to go away, we need to recycle all electrical items. We should be recycling all our waste but that is not technically possible, but even more importantly we should be seriously tackling the issue of packaging, and consumerism, which in the past 25 years has increased to near unsustainable levels.
The recycling of electronics is not a solution to the growing problem as there are many hazardous elements that need to be extracted in adequate conditions to protect the worker. At the moment too much of the e waste is being dumped on the developing countries to be "recycled" in more often than not primitive conditions . Greenpeace are working on trying to bring awareness to people, but it is issue that we should all address when buying a new phone, computer, mp3, etc.