S & S In Brief: Resource Shortage for Tech

Time to talk about our tech stash and forgotten about gadgets/Nokia 3310’s as we experience shortages of the earth’s rare elements…

The Royal Society of Chemistry has recently conducted a survey for tech stockpiling which has revealed: 

📱An estimated 40 million unused gadgets are in UK homes (all containing multiple endangered elements eg) 1 smart phone = 30+elements)

📱Over half of UK households had at least 1 unused device and 45% had between 2-5 with NO plans to recycle 

📱500,000 tonnes of electronic waste is recycled every year 

Elements we could run out of in the next century: Gallium, Arsenic, Silver, Indium, Yttrium, Tantalum (Used in everything from LED, to microchips, fireworks, mirrors, screens, surgical implants, solar panels etc).

Deficits in these natural materials underpin the fundamental importance of responsibly recycling all of our cables, connectors and contraptions we accumulate! Investing in innovation for cradle to cradle initiatives that take, make and reuse our old tech will be crucial to closing the loop and ensuring we keep these rare elements within reach & production systems! A. X 

2 thoughts on “S & S In Brief: Resource Shortage for Tech

  1. It is beyond disgraceful isn’t it that we don’t value these reuseable elements in discarded objects like a phone. It is all part of our strange obsession with the new and our disregard for something used. If we could recycle these valuable elements then potentially we would have no need for mining anymore. And we could start to heal these places which would be a source of work for unemployed miners.


    1. Thank you for your comment Dinah! We can pro-actively increase awareness by sharing this information with others and encouraging businesses to innovate infrastructure to re process these valuable materials (as well as push our governments for more rigid legislation and reform).


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