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Comment PDF Separation Processes

Urban Mining Offers Good Prospecting

By Gerald Ondrey |

As the volume of discarded electronic gadgets grows, efforts are underway to recover the precious resources trapped inside It should come as no surprise that the fastest growing part of the world’s domestic waste stream is e-waste — discarded products with a battery or plug (see box below, “The Growing Need for Recycling”). Because e-waste contains valuable resources, efforts around the word to collect and recycle such waste — so-called urban mining — are growing. But it is more than simply mining for profit. “Waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE, or e-waste) is a complex mixture of materials; it is a source of secondary raw materials, including precious metals, but, at the same time, it also contains hazardous substances that give rise to environmental and health problems if not adequately managed,” according to WEEE Forum (Brussels, Belgium; www.weee-forum.org). It was with this in mind — that e-waste is hazardous waste — that E.U. legislators adopted directive 2002/7967/EC on waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) back in 2002. At that time, there was no specialist WEEE de-polluting and recycling industry to speak of. There were few WEEE designated collection facilities. Citizens…
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