Sunday, January 13, 2008


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Alex Tolley

"Ultimately, by weight, only 1/2 of 1 percent of the e-waste Umicore takes in cannot be safely sent back into the world in a usable form."

That seems extraordinary and I would like to know how this is done. For example, what happens to the circuit boards - are they somehow ground up for some purpose (they cannot be melted down and re-used) or burned cleanly? Also, how much energy is needed to recycle the metals and keep them separated (it is not quite as easy as it sounds to make pure electroplate copper from a mix of metals in acid solution.

I certainly think that manufacturers need to think more about how their products can be recycled through attention to design. Some time in the future, when we transition to organic semiconductors, we should be able to substantially reduce the amount of toxic waste associated with electronics.


One of the solutions I’ve found that help tackle e-waste and keep existing, outdated PCs going is to go with a company called Userful. They’re huge on green computing and can use a single existing PC to power up to ten workstations at once. This is a huge way to help combat e-waste and bring outdated PCs back to life. You can find out more on this here – http://www.userful.com.

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