Recovering Metals from E-Waste May Make Financial Sense | AIChE

Recovering Metals from E-Waste May Make Financial Sense


Extracting metals from old electronics is more cost-effective than mining those metals from the earth, say researchers Xianlai Zeng and Jinhui Li of Tsinghua Univ. in Beijing and John A. Mathews of Macquarie Univ. in Sydney.

Discarded electronic devices make up one of the fastest growing waste streams globally. In fact, more than 40 million metric tons of e-waste is generated each year, a number that is expected to increase in the coming decades.

Disposing of e-waste presents environmental and personnel safety hazards. Certain electronic components, like the central processing unit (CPU) within a computer, contain potentially harmful components such as lead, cadmium, and beryllium. Shredding and incineration may release many of the toxic components contained in electronics into the atmosphere. Likewise, if the e-waste is dumped into landfills, it may eventually leach toxic components into the...

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