From left: Danilo Bonato, Giovanni Azzone, Mattia Pellegrini
E-Waste Lab is the project started in January 2012 from ReMedia Consortium with the aim of maximizing the value of recycling of Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment and increase the amount of Rare lands is precious metals derived from them WEEE collected and recycled.
The initiative also involves the Politecnico di Milano, the Lombardy region, Amsa, Stena S.p.A. is Assolombarda.
Precious metals and rare earths are indispensable for the production of many devices - come on mobile phones ai televisions, give her batteries ai photovoltaic panels - and their availability represents a key problem for Europe and for Italy, increasingly topical due to supply problems.
Rare earth content and some precious metals WEEE:
- Mobile phones, PCs, servers, decoders and cameras: Praseodymium, Neodymium, Cerium, Lanthanum, Samarium, Terbium, Dysprosium (Rare lands); Silver, Gold, Copper, Palladium, Cadmium, Cobalt, Ruthenium (precious metals).
- LCD screens: Ruthenium, Cerium, Lanthanum, Neodymium, Europium, Terbium, Yttrium, Gadolino (Rare lands).
- Photovoltaic panels: Dysprosium, Neodymium (Rare lands); Selenium, Tellurium, Indium (precious metals).
The question is more serious than we think. Suffice it to say that, in theory, China could leave us without cellphones and without televisions if it only decided one day to block the export of rare earths, of which it manages 97% of world production. Which, in truth, it already did against Japan a few years ago, when a week of halt to exports risked knocking out the Japanese industry. And the same could do South Africa and Russia, which instead manage 90% (respectively 60% and 30%) of the production of precious metals belonging to the Platinum Group.
The strategies to get out of a situation that in the near future could prove to be catastrophic for our economy was discussed on Friday 8 June at the Politecnico di Milano during the annual ReMedia conference, Hi Tech and Environment, in which the first results of E-Waste were presented in the presence of key figures in the national and international scenario, in the world of companies and research. - European Commission).
Why is WEEE important? Because a cell phone - for example - contains 250 mg of silver, 24 mg of gold, 9 mg of palladium and 9 g of copper. The lithium ion battery, on the other hand, contains about 3.5 g of cobalt and 1.0 of rare earths (Nd, Eu, Ce and Tb). Of course these materials are difficult to recover, but if technologies are enhanced by raising the recovery rate, Italy and Europe could face the shortage of raw materials and dependence on foreign countries.
For companies that need to recycle large quantities of technological and electronic waste, there are special services provided by specialized operators which even arewilling to pay to receive technological waste!
One such company isRemedia TSR, the company of the Remedia Group, specialized in managing all the operations necessary for proper disposal: transport, treatment, recovery and environmentally compatible disposal of Professional Waste WEEE.