Mike Ives: “For decades, hazardous electronic waste from around the world has been processed in unsafe backyard recycling operations in Asia and Africa. Now, a small but growing movement is seeking to provide these informal collectors with incentives to sell e-waste to advanced recycling facilities…Researchers say printed circuit boards, which often contain gold and other valuable metals, are a good first step for such projects because they typically represent the most valuable — as well as the most environmentally hazardous — aspect of the e-waste recycling process. The goal is to allow collectors to continue their practice of re-using or manually dismantling electronic equipment, but then sell those parts to professional facilities instead of melting them or using cyanide to extract valuable metals in backyard workshops. Advanced recycling facilities employ commodity separation, shredding, resource recovery, and pollution-control technologies that greatly reduce the health and environmental hazards associated with backyard recycling operations.”
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