What is gold and silver recovery from e waste, exactly?

Recovering gold and silver from electronic waste, such as connectors, circuit boards, and other electronic materials, is known as recovering these precious metals. E-waste can contain small amounts of precious metals, such as gold and silver. These precious metals are recoverable through recycling techniques. Recovery usually involves several steps.

  1. E-waste can be collected from various sources, including discarded electronic devices and manufacturing scrap. The waste is then separated based on the type and composition of electronic components.
  2. Mechanical Shredding: Sorted e-waste is mechanically shredded to reduce the material into smaller pieces. This step increases the surface area of the e-waste for subsequent treatment.
  3. Chemical Treatment: Chemical treatment separates and dissolves the precious metals in the e-waste. Acids or cyanide solutions are commonly used to dissolve metals selectively. This method leaves behind non-metallic material, which allows for the recovery and use of precious metals.
  4. Filtration and Purification – After the metals have been dissolved in a chemical solution, they are filtered out to remove any solid particles or other impurities. Additional purification steps may be necessary to ensure the recovered metals are up to standard.
  5. Precipitation: After the metals have been in the solution, they may be precipitated by adding a chemical agent that will cause the metals to solidify and separate themselves from the solution. The precipitate is collected and processed further to produce pure gold and sterling silver.
  6. Smelting and refining: The residue is heated at high temperatures to melt the metals. Impurities are removed by oxidation and chemical reactions.
  7. Casting and Forming – The purified silver and gold can be formed into ingots or cast into different shapes depending on their intended use. The metals recovered can be used in various industries, including jewelry, electronics, and investment.

The recovery of gold and silver from electronic waste is a resource-intensive and complex process. It requires specialized equipment and expertise and adherence to safety and environmental regulations. It offers environmental and economic advantages by reducing waste and preserving valuable resources.

This post was written by Steven Elia Co-Founder and Recycling Director at https://ecycleflorida.com/. eCycle Florida is a R2 Certified electronics recycling company in the state of Florida. Our processes and procedures are dedicated to the proper destruction and recycling of your electronics. eCycle Florida is your go-to when looking for an electronic recycling center in Tampa.