German firm Norddeutsche Affinerie has discovered gold in junk. According to the precious metals specialist, Germans discard as many as 24 million mobile phones every year. Throwing away a mobile phone in the trash in Germany is a violation of a federal law regulating electronic waste. In all, however, the dumped phones can yield nearly a half-ton of gold, which recyclers melt out of mobile phone and computer circuitry.
Kevin Brigden a UK-based scientist with Greenpeace said "Electronic waste is a tremendous resource but it's not being managed nearly as effectively as it could be". He also recommended that mobile phones and personal computers need to be made in a way that makes it easy to extract the precious metals.
Norddeutsche Affinerie the precious metals refinery in Germany, where the economy is suffering from its worst economic downturn in more than six decades, is extracting gold from old mobile phones and personal computers and forging gold bars. Hamburg-based Norddeutsche Affinerie is one of the very few precious metal recyclers in the world, and recovers approximately 3.5 tons of gold each year from electronic waste, including mobile phones, having a value of nearly $110 million.
Their business prospects are helped by mobile recycling campaigns at Royal Philips Electronics NV, Europe's largest television manufacturer, and Nokia Oyj, the world's biggest mobile-phone maker. Amsterdam-based Philips is investing 1 billion euros ($1.25 billion) until 2012 designing products to be recycled more easily that contain fewer chemicals and feature other so-called green innovations.