Have you got a few old, unused mobile phones lying around at home? According to phone recycler MobileMuster, there are more than 23 million old mobile phones lying around in Australia right now! That’s almost as many phones as people! Mobile phones contain many metals (and other substances) that are harmful to the environmental if they end up in landfill.

What’s more, the metals inside phones are precious metals, including gold. Enter Adelaide scientist, Associate Professor Frank Reith. Frank and his co-workers have discovered a tiny bacteria that is able to extract gold from a waste mixture. The bacteria (called ‘Cupriavidus Metallidurans’) can literally build little nuggets of gold, grain by grain.

Professor Reith is now running a trial using ‘e-waste’ (old phones and computers) as the starting material for the bacteria to work on. Recycling and reusing precious metals means that less will contaminate the environment as e-waste and less of these limited resources will need to be dug up out of the ground in the first place. Good for the environment, and good for us.  Read more about Associate Professor Reith’s ground-breaking work here.

If you would like recycle an old phone, visit https://www.mobilemuster.com.au/to find your nearest drop-off point.