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Subject Why would someone expend the effort, risk damaging the environment, and possibly harm themselves to refine metals from scrap?
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Original Message Interesting longread I saw over at Salon.com over the weekend. Clueless to think somebody would go this far to make a buck.

"The life of a discarded smartphone does not end when its owner gets a shiny new replacement. Many people cast the old model aside, sending the bundle of metal, battery acid, and plastic to a landfill, while a small, conscientious percentage chooses to repurpose or recycle their old pal.

After dropping off a stash of old consumer electronics at a designated recycling venue, the electronics in close-to-working order are often refurbished and put back into use through retail sale outlets or donation. Those electronics that are in not-so-great condition are de-manufactured (disassembled) to obtain useful, quickly interchangeable components like RAM. Another option requiring far fewer computer experts exists, however, namely, the wholesale destruction of the electronics to obtain scrap metal. This process is often carried out in large warehouses where industrial shredders tear desktop towers and hard drives into inch-long strands of metal that will later be sold as wholesale scrap."

[link to www.salon.com]
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