Mobile phone giant Samsung has been in the headlines after the worldwide recall of its Galaxy Note 7 after a number of incidents of overheating.
The company is desperate for customers who bought the ill-fated phone to return it and one reason has to be that the device contains valuable electronics including recycled gold that can be used again.
It’s estimated that for every million smartphones that are recycled, 75lbs of gold, 772lb of silver and 35,000-plus lbs of copper can be recovered. In the US alone, Samsung is trying to recover around two million of the models, although some customers are keeping a tight grip on their Galaxy Note 7s despite the risks, Fortune reported.
Samsung is offering customers who return their Galaxy Note 7s a refund plus cash off another model from its range. Once the phones are returned, they are passed on to specialist electronics recyclers, who ‘mine’ the devices for their precious metals to use again.
However, there are concerns that recovering the gold and silver in the Galaxy Note 7s will be more difficult than usual. Samsung has glued down the batteries in the phones, and it’s these batteries that are causing the overheating issue, making recovering the precious metals a potentially dangerous task.
According to Wired, an engineer from iFixit who tried to dismantle the model said the process was like carrying out brain surgery on a patient who might catch fire.
The electronics industry is keen to recover the recycled gold used in mobile phone electronics because of demand from manufacturers for the recycled metal for other products.
There is of course a much easier way of obtaining recycled gold, which doesn’t put you at any risk of catching fire. The old, broken and unwanted gold jewellery and items we buy for cash are all melted down and returned to the system, where they could be turned into anything from a wedding ring to a bullion bar – or even find their way into your next smartphone, laptop or tablet.