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Exploration of the material distribution of complex components in waste electrical and electronic equipment

Paper Topic: 
CEST2017 - Electric and electronic waste

Pages :
725 - 736

Corresponing Author: 
Aleksander Jandric
Jandric A., Tran C.D., Beigl P., Micuda Z., Salhofer S.
Paper ID: 
Paper Status: 
Date Paper Accepted: 
Paper online: 

Technological development combined with a rapid and global market penetration has led to high volumes of Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE). Simultaneously, the use-phase has become shorter resulting in an annual growth rate of WEEE between 3-5%, which makes WEEE one of the fastest growing waste streams. The high metal content of WEEE has been a driving force for behind the expansion of recycling industry. However, during the de-pollution process, a certain type of components is sorted out, which due to their diversity in shape, size, and material composition, cannot be assigned to any homogenous material. These components can generally be classified as complex components and include Printed Circuit Boards (PCB), Hard Disk Drives, Power Supply Units, etc. The aim of the present research is to provide an assessment of the material composition of complex components exemplified in more detail on PCBs. A set of minimal requirements has been developed in order to increase comparability of available data sets. Furthermore, a novel classification system has been designed for PCBs with according to the current recycling practices in EU. Finally, the paper provides a mapping of complex components with a particularly high content of precious metals and critical raw materials.

PCB, precious metals, Critical raw materials, trace metals, WEEE characterization