E-Waste Recycling: Getting Treasure From Trash

Once the bulky boring bits that make up most of the electronic waste stream have been removed, recyclers are left to deal with an incredibly complex mix of metals and other components.

Some of that complexity is found in the lithium batteries that power most of our mobile devices. Battery recycling involves a mix of shredding, physical metal separation and wet chemistry to recover carbon, cobalt and lithium. Then it’s on to the real challenge: the printed circuit boards (PCBs).

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E-waste impact continues to grow

Without a doubt the impact of e-waste continues to grow with its significant impact on the environment.     Indeed, only 12% of the nation’s computers are recycled. At this time, Australia is the fourth highest generator of e-waste per capita in the world.  Poorly managed e-waste means heavy metals and hazardous waste such as lead, mercury, cadmium, and brominated flame retardants leak into the environment.  Clearly, the risks of data leaks are also increased if the device’s storage aren’t carefully treated.

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Managing Mercury Risk

Managing mercury risk is an important issue for many Australian industrial companies.  Mercury causes very harmful and lasting health impacts due to its toxicity.  The