What’s in our smartphones and lightbulbs? How about our computers, tv’s and solar panels? Numerous materials surrounding us from electronics to medical devices contain various metals, slowly getting depleted as finite resources from our earth’s core. Material extraction has tripled over the last 50 years as technology demands expand.
Mining is hard on the earth – splattered with challenges related to land, air, water and ecosystem disruption. A variety of metals including copper, cobalt, silver and nickel in addition to plastics and chemicals are used by the electronics industry. Demand for these precious resources, including costs to extract them, grows as does our dependency on gadgets.
Sadly, mining can alter landscapes – the topography, hydrology and ecology – for decades. Developing countries especially need to assure that mining companies honor their responsibility to long term damage, including social impacts to surrounding communities. While the mining industry can be lucrative to some, it can be seriously destructive and impactful to others.
The ideal way to curb our appetite for metals, is to reduce our consumption of them. Do we truly need the latest smartphone and a bigger TV? If it breaks, can it be fixed? Lastly, always recycle your metals including Lithium car batteries. Recycle Utah accepts most electronic waste for free or a minimal fee. In the end, the hope is to increase the lifespan of any product with ease of Reuse followed by Recycling to ensure a circular economy.