Last month, the internet flew into a frenzy over news that Apple recovered $US40 ($52) million worth of gold from old gadgets last year. That story turned out to be wildly oversold. But our eagerness to celebrate a tech company’s recycling victory speaks to a disturbing truth.
You’ve probably heard a bit about rare Earth elements. They have got unpronounceable names like ytterbium and praseodymium, and they’re found in nearly ever piece of tech you own. Despite their value, we’re do a piss poor job recycling them. But chemists are now hoping to change that.