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Status of pre-processing of waste electrical and electronic equipment in Germany and its influence on the recovery of gold

Status of pre-processing of waste electrical and electronic equipment in Germany and its... Waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) contains gold in low but from an environmental and economic point of view relevant concentration. After collection, WEEE is pre-processed in order to generate appropriate material fractions that are sent to the subsequent end-processing stages (recovery, reuse or disposal). The goal of this research is to quantify the overall recovery rates of pre-processing technologies used in Germany for the reference year 2007. To achieve this goal, facilities operating in Germany were listed and classified according to the technology they apply. Information on their processing capacity was gathered by evaluating statistical databases. Based on a literature review of experimental results for gold recovery rates of different pre-processing technologies, the German overall recovery rate of gold at the pre-processing level was quantified depending on the characteristics of the treated WEEE. The results reveal that — depending on the equipment groups — pre-processing recovery rates of gold of 29 to 61% are achieved in Germany. Some practical recommendations to reduce the losses during pre-processing could be formulated. Defining mass-based recovery targets in the legislation does not set incentives to recover trace elements. Instead, the priorities for recycling could be defined based on other parameters like the environmental impacts of the materials. The implementation of measures to reduce the gold losses would also improve the recovery of several other non-ferrous metals like tin, nickel, and palladium. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Waste Management & Research SAGE

Status of pre-processing of waste electrical and electronic equipment in Germany and its influence on the recovery of gold

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References (37)

Publisher
SAGE
Copyright
© The Author(s) 2010
ISSN
0734-242X
eISSN
1096-3669
DOI
10.1177/0734242X10368303
pmid
20406755
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) contains gold in low but from an environmental and economic point of view relevant concentration. After collection, WEEE is pre-processed in order to generate appropriate material fractions that are sent to the subsequent end-processing stages (recovery, reuse or disposal). The goal of this research is to quantify the overall recovery rates of pre-processing technologies used in Germany for the reference year 2007. To achieve this goal, facilities operating in Germany were listed and classified according to the technology they apply. Information on their processing capacity was gathered by evaluating statistical databases. Based on a literature review of experimental results for gold recovery rates of different pre-processing technologies, the German overall recovery rate of gold at the pre-processing level was quantified depending on the characteristics of the treated WEEE. The results reveal that — depending on the equipment groups — pre-processing recovery rates of gold of 29 to 61% are achieved in Germany. Some practical recommendations to reduce the losses during pre-processing could be formulated. Defining mass-based recovery targets in the legislation does not set incentives to recover trace elements. Instead, the priorities for recycling could be defined based on other parameters like the environmental impacts of the materials. The implementation of measures to reduce the gold losses would also improve the recovery of several other non-ferrous metals like tin, nickel, and palladium.

Journal

Waste Management & ResearchSAGE

Published: Mar 1, 2011

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