Beyond the environment winning here, I’m am amused because this is truth following fiction as this is just what Stirling predicted would happen in his book Island in The Sea of Time.
For those unfamiliar with the book, the island of Nantucket is arbitrarily plucked from the modern era and transported to circa 1250 B.C. Geographically, they are still on Nantucket Island, it is only the when that changes. Faced with a lack of refining and technological assets they eventually begin mining the landfill for electronic components and other refined materials. Cool, huh? This was one of my favorite details from the book. Necessity meets ingenuity and bang: elegant solution.
With the price of copper and some precious metals skyrocketing, it does make you wonder when this becomes financially worthwhile on a grand scale. What percent of the material needs to be useful for the separation process to be worthwhile? I have no idea, but it is a compelling thought.