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Electronic waste recycling: A review of U.S. infrastructure and technology options

TitleElectronic waste recycling: A review of U.S. infrastructure and technology options
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2005
AuthorsKang H-Y, Schoenung JM
Journal TitleResources, Conservation & Recycling
KeywordsElectronic waste (e-waste), End-of-life (EOL), Infrastructure, Materials recovery, recycling
AbstractThe useful life of consumer electronic devices is relatively short, and decreasing as a result ofrapid changes in equipment features and capabilities. This creates a large waste stream of obsoleteelectronic equipment, electronic waste (e-waste).Even though there are conventional disposal methods for e-waste, these methods have disadvantagesfrom both the economic and environmental viewpoints. As a result, new e-waste management optionsneed to be considered, for example, recycling. But electronic recycling has a short history, so there isnot yet a solid infrastructure in place.In this paper, the first half describes trends in the amount of e-waste, existing recycling programs,and collection methods. The second half describes various methods available to recover materialsfrom e-waste. In particular, various recycling technologies for the glass, plastics, and metals found ine-waste are discussed. For glass, glass-to-glass recycling and glass-to-lead recycling technologies arepresented. For plastics, chemical (feedstock) recycling, mechanical recycling, and thermal recyclingmethods are analyzed. Recovery processes for copper, lead, and precious metals such as silver, gold,platinum, and palladium are reviewed. These processes are described and compared on the basis ofavailable technologies, resources, and material input–output systems.
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