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There's GOLD in them thar electronics!

Patrick Thibodeau | Sept. 5, 2016
The economics of electronics recycling is affected by commodity prices, such as oil

"If you have to process every pound of material using a chemical, I don't know how you can compete against a smelter," said Magann.

Not surprisingly, the recycling industry is very sensitive to commodity prices.

Bob Houghton, CEO at Sage Sustainable Electronics points out that when oil was $140 a barrel, you could justify the expense of separating plastics from the electronics. Plastics are made from oil.

When oil reached $75 a barrel -- it's now at about $45 a barrel -- "virgin plastics became as competitive as recycled plastics," said Houghton.

Gold prices move sharply as well. In 2012 it was selling for more than $1,800 an ounce, or $500 more than today.


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