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New Book Empowers Sustainable Processing Methods for Materials Recovery in WEEE

By: , Posted on: November 8, 2018

The recent publication of Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Recycling: Aqueous Recovery Methods reviews the current state and future possibilities of the implementation of aqueous methods of processing of WEEEs at the industrial level. We sat down with the editors to discuss their new publication and WEEE Recycling.

  1. What is WEEE and why is WEEE Recycling an important issue?

It is well-known that the increasing amount of electrical and electronic equipment waste generated each year represents a significant global issue. There have been many reports and specific regulations published by different global organizations. These regulations attempt to achieve a formal management of the products using the circular system approach.

The waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) are a special category of waste that present within their composition different elements (both metals and non-metals). For this reason they are very difficult to be properly managed and recycled. Currently, most of the processes applied for these waste treatments are thermal treatments. However, during the processing of these wastes large amounts of energy are required, large quantities of toxic fumes are released and there is the impossibility of certain elements (that are considered critical) being recovered from the treated material. For this reason aqueous methods are preferred.

  1. What is your group’s background in WEEE Recycling?

Our group activity is mostly based on solid and liquid wastes treatment using these kinds of procedures. We have been and are involved within different research projects that makes use of such procedures for recovery of different classes of elements from various e-wastes. For example, the HydroWEEE Project (which was carried under the FP7 Program of European Commission) had as a core goal to develop sustainable hydrometallurgical projects for the recovery of base, precious and rare earths elements from spent fluorescent lamps, cathode ray tubes, spent Li-ion batteries, spent LCDs, waste printed circuit boards and spent catalysts. Another goal of the project was to demonstrate (HydroWEEE Demo) the efficiency of hydrometallurgical methods from the lab to a larger scale within two hydrometallurgical plants (one stationary and one mobile).

  1. Why did you decide to edit a book on this topic?

Based on the experience achieved within these projects, and many others that are not specified here, and considering the important aspects regarding the WEEE management and recycling, we have decided to publish the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Recycling: Aqueous Recovery Methods.

  1. Tell us about the book.

The book discusses the last two decades developments on the recycling of WEEEs by hydrometallurgical processes (first part of book) that have been adopted from the mining industry and efficiently optimized for this class of materials. The second part is dedicated to aqueous technologies that make use of greener reagents for these wastes treatment.

  1. What is your group currently working on?

Moreover, currently we are involved within Horizon 2020 EU Project with the acronym FENIX with the goal of applying the circular economy model, more in depth, to recover base and precious metals from waste printed circuit boards by hydrometallurgical process and to further use the recovered elements  in the manufacturing of new products by additive manufacturing and 3D printing technologies.

The EU project FENIX has organized a session on practical use cases for value-added products during the Going Green—CARE INNOVATION 2018 conference and exhibition. Please be sure to learn more about the conference at:

Chapter 4: Hydrometallurgical processing of waste printed circuit boards is available to read on ScienceDirect for a limited time.

Want your own copy? Order on the Elsevier store and enter STC317 at the checkout and save up to 30%.

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Materials Science

The highly interdisciplinary field of materials science examines elements of applied physics and chemistry, as well as chemical, mechanical, civil, and electrical engineering. Nanoscience and nanotechnology in particular have yielded major innovations in this area, such as graphene and carbon nanotubes. Elsevier’s authoritative content in this area ranges from undergraduate textbooks to multi-volume reference works investigating the relationships between the structure of materials and their properties. Our journals (including Materials Today), books, and eBooks help researchers stay abreast of developments in this swiftly advancing field, coving major sub-disciplines like energy and power; metals and alloys; ceramics; composite materials; polymer science and biomaterials; interdisciplinary materials science; and structural materials.