Phasing Out Gold in Electronics: The Potential Impact on ITAD Specialists

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Gold is a sought-after metal revered for its high worth, resilience, and versatility. Demand for gold has peaked in recent years, particularly with the advent of the smartphone and tablet. The metal laces the circuitry of many electronic devices because it’s an efficient, durable conductor of electricity. Recyclers extract gold from electronics, which creates a large market for electronics recycling. With such a thriving market for recycled electronics as has emerged in recent years, IT Asset Disposition (ITAD) has become an important specialization. ITAD specialists can help businesses make cost-effective decisions about their IT equipment. Many used electronics are worth money because of their gold content. ITAD specialists can guide businesses in the right direction regarding how to get a higher return on their assets’ value.

Shifting the Gold Standard of Electronics

While the world has millions of tons of e-waste containing gold, the production of new electronics containing gold is declining. This is partly due to the diminishing supply of gold and an increase in its price—around $1,340 per ounce. The rise of nanotechnology has contributed toward the trend. Devices have smaller, more minimalist designs. Engineers are developing alloy materials that have the same performance and resistance to corrosion as gold, but are renewable and far more inexpensive. This change could, however, cause a major shift in the electronics recycling industry. Value on parts that formerly contained gold will decline, and there may be an impact on ITAD specialists and a shift of their business model, too.

A New Business Approach for ITAD Specialists

ITAD specialists offer a valuable range of services. Because of this diversity, the overall business model remains intact. For example, ITAD specialists can help companies dispose of their electronic equipment responsibly to avoid fines, or connect them with charitable organizations for donations. They also ensure wiping and destruction of storage devices, acting as a security liaison for their clients. However, a large profit window will be closed with the decline of gold being used in electronics manufacturing. The value of parts for resale will diminish. As such, ITAD specialists will need to focus on promoting sustainability and profitability of refurbishing electronics for resale.

As natural resources become scarce, the economic picture must shift to accommodate the change. Gold will still be around for years to come, but a future with less of it isn’t necessarily dark.

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