Electronic appliances are composed of hundreds of different materials that can be both toxic but also of high value. While bulk materials such as iron, aluminium, plastics and glass account for over 80 weight %, valuable and toxic materials are found in smaller quantities but are still of high importance. The material composition of different appliances is often similar, but the percentage of different components can vary a lot.
Gold, silver, copper, platinum etc. are valuable substances which turn recycling of e-waste into a lucrative business opportunity. On the other hand, the recycling of hazardous substances, e.g. carcinogens such as lead and arsenic is critical and poses serious health risks and environment dangers of not properly handled.