Did you know that your mobile phone contains at least 30 different naturally-occurring elements? Natural sources of six of these are set to run out within the next 100 years, with several more under rising threat from increased use.
Not only are these elements crucial for the technology we take for granted in our everyday lives, but they are also used in everything from fire-sprinkler systems and antibacterial clothing to solar panels and surgical implants.
And they could be needed for other technologies in the future that we haven’t discovered yet – for health, green energy, treating pollution and more.
But most of us are buying more and more technology, and moreoever we are not recycling it at the end of its life.
The Royal Society of Chemistry commissioned research to demonstrate the scale of the problem, and found that there could be as many as 40 million electronic devices sitting unused in drawers and cupboards in the UK alone.