Switzerland is surprisingly careless when it comes to recycling gold, the federal government says. Every year 300kg of gold ends up in the waste.
Gold treasures are literally hidden in construction waste. According to the federal government, the residues of large waste incineration plants contain gold of the order of 300 kilograms each year, which corresponds to the weight of 20,000 wedding rings.Switzerland is generally very well positioned in terms of metal recycling, as the Federal Office for the Environment (Bafu) writes on its website. But of all things, one of the most valuable metals – gold – can be observed “an amazing negligence”.
Gold can also be found in mobile phones
Another source of lost gold, according to Bafu, is unused cell phones. Each device contains around 0.025 grams of the precious metal. According to estimates, there are 8 million unused mobile phones in Swiss drawers alone, with gold worth over 8 million Swiss francs in them.In order to get this amount back, 40,000 tons of rock would have to be extracted from the ground in the gold mines. The gold can be recycled: Apple has developed a robot that disassembles disused iPhones into their individual parts in 18 seconds, after which the precious metal still has to be chemically extracted. But there is still little interest in this specific form of urban mining.