Special Issue "Electronic Waste: Management and Recovery Technologies"

A special issue of Applied Sciences (ISSN 2076-3417). This special issue belongs to the section "Materials".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 December 2020).

Special Issue Editor

Prof. Dr. Luis Pérez Villarejo
Website
Guest Editor
Department of Chemical, Environmental, and Materials Engineering, Higher Polytechnic School of Linares, University of Jaen, Campus Científico-Tecnológico, Cinturón Sur s/n, 23700 Linares (Jaén), Spain
Interests: byproduct and industrial residue valorization; ceramics; cements; alkali-activated materials; synthesis of nanomaterials
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Special Issue Information

Dear colleagues,

Currently, the recycling, management, recovery, and reuse of electronic waste (e-waste) represent a great challenge at the global level, especially because they contain components that are harmful to humans and generate large environmental pollution. This is especially worrisome in terms of the massive consumption of all types of electronic devices (screens, computers, mobile phones, etc.), and their relatively short life cycle. From a scientific and technological point of view, there are two aspects that are key in this type of waste and that it is necessary to address: The great environmental impact they generate due to metals that leach the medium (arsenic, selenium or antimony, among others), and secondly, the enormous possibilities of recovery of these metals and the economic value that they can generate, since they are chemical elements, such as gold, tantalum, platinum or palladium, as well as some rare earths.

In order to recover the metals, it is necessary to develop new processes and economically viable technology to separate plastics parts from metals and within these, to discern between ferrous and nonferrous, and that are capable of making the leap from the laboratory to the industry, especially in important aspects, such as the identification and automation of processes.
Achieving both metals recovery with high economic value and avoiding discharges into the environment through proper management and deposition would contribute effectively to circular economy, promoted at a political level by organizations such as the European Union.
This Special Issue aims to shed light on the latest advances and research carried out for the correct management of electronic waste as well as to delve into the latest techniques and applications for the recovery and reuse of chemical elements with high added value.

Prof. Pérez Villarejo Luis
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

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Keywords

  • e-waste
  • recovery
  • management
  • environmental impact
  • circular economy
  • rare earths
  • leaching
  • regulations
  • hydrometallurgy
  • magnetic separation

Published Papers (5 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle
Optimizing a Reverse Supply Chain Network for Electronic Waste under Risk and Uncertain Factors
Appl. Sci. 2021, 11(4), 1946; https://doi.org/10.3390/app11041946 - 23 Feb 2021
Abstract
Minimizing the impact of electronic waste (e-waste) on the environment through designing an effective reverse supply chain (RSC) is attracting the attention of both industry and academia. To obtain this goal, this study strives to develop an e-waste RSC model where the input [...] Read more.
Minimizing the impact of electronic waste (e-waste) on the environment through designing an effective reverse supply chain (RSC) is attracting the attention of both industry and academia. To obtain this goal, this study strives to develop an e-waste RSC model where the input parameters are fuzzy and risk factors are considered. The problem is then solved through crisp transformation and decision-makers are given the right to choose solutions based on their satisfaction. The result shows that the proposed model provides a practical and satisfactory solution to compromise between the level of satisfaction of constraints and the objective value. This solution includes strategic and operational decisions such as the optimal locations of facilities (i.e., disassembly, repairing, recycling facilities) and the flow quantities in the RSC. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Electronic Waste: Management and Recovery Technologies)
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Open AccessArticle
WEEE Recycling and Circular Economy Assisted by Collaborative Robots
Appl. Sci. 2020, 10(14), 4800; https://doi.org/10.3390/app10144800 - 13 Jul 2020
Abstract
Considering the amount of waste of electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) generated each year at an increasing rate, it is of crucial importance to develop circular economy solutions that prioritize reuse and recycling, as well as reducing the amount of waste that is [...] Read more.
Considering the amount of waste of electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) generated each year at an increasing rate, it is of crucial importance to develop circular economy solutions that prioritize reuse and recycling, as well as reducing the amount of waste that is disposed of at landfills. This paper analyses the evolution of the amount of WEEE collection and its recycling rate at the national and European levels. It also describes the regulatory framework and possible future government policy measures to foster a circular economy. Furthermore, it identifies the different parts and materials that can be recovered from the recycling process with a special emphasis on plastics. Finally, it describes a recycling line that has been designed for the dismantling of computer cathodic ray tubes (CRT)s that combines an innovative participation of people and collaborative robots which has led to an effective and efficient material recovery solution. The key issue of this human–robot collaboration relies on only assigning tasks that require human skills to operators and sending all other tasks to robots. The first results from the model show a better economic performance than current manual processes, mainly regarding the higher degree of separation of recovered materials and plastic in particular, thus reaching higher revenues. This collaboration also brings considerable additional benefits for the environment, through a higher recovery rate in weight and for workers, who can make intelligent decisions in the factory and enjoy a safer working environment by avoiding the most dangerous tasks. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Electronic Waste: Management and Recovery Technologies)
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Circular Economy and E-Waste: An Opportunity from RFID TAGs
Appl. Sci. 2019, 9(16), 3422; https://doi.org/10.3390/app9163422 - 19 Aug 2019
Cited by 3
Abstract
In this work, a deep economic and technical analysis for the enhancement of e-waste hierarchy applied to the Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) tags is presented. Nowadays, the RFID technology represents a valuable solution for many applications to improve the quality and efficiency of [...] Read more.
In this work, a deep economic and technical analysis for the enhancement of e-waste hierarchy applied to the Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) tags is presented. Nowadays, the RFID technology represents a valuable solution for many applications to improve the quality and efficiency of the supply chain, as well as for enhanced people or object identification and smart devices. This leads to massive usage of such devices that could represent a threat to the environment, since they are often considered as generic waste and no specific e-waste policy has been identified for RFID. For these reasons, the paper presents a study based on the desk research technique to propose several possibilities currently available for producers of different RFID devices in order to mitigate this problem at every e-waste hierarchy stage, i.e., ecological design and prevention, reuse, recycle, and disposal. Moreover, a cost/benefit analysis has been reported in order to highlight the economic advantages related to the RFID tags reuse, as well as environmental impact reduction. Results proved that passive RFID tags represent the major candidate for the e-waste hierarchy enhancement at every level, demonstrating that it is more convenient for the producer to consider an ecologically aware design and promote a take-back system for tags in order to take advantages from the solution proposed for the RFID e-waste hierarchy. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Electronic Waste: Management and Recovery Technologies)
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Open AccessCommunication
Thermodynamic Simulations for Determining the Recycling Path of a Spent Lead-Acid Battery Electrolyte Sample with Ca(OH)2
Appl. Sci. 2019, 9(11), 2262; https://doi.org/10.3390/app9112262 - 31 May 2019
Cited by 5
Abstract
By utilizing thermodynamic calculations, the possible removal path of spent lead-acid battery electrolytes was modeled. The process was divided into precipitation and carbonation processes. In the carbonation process, two scenarios were discussed, namely carbonation with and without pre-filtration of the precipitates resulted from [...] Read more.
By utilizing thermodynamic calculations, the possible removal path of spent lead-acid battery electrolytes was modeled. The process was divided into precipitation and carbonation processes. In the carbonation process, two scenarios were discussed, namely carbonation with and without pre-filtration of the precipitates resulted from the precipitation process. The results showed that in the precipitation process, the theoretical limit for the chemical removal of SO42− was 99.15%, while in the following carbonation process without filtration, only 69.61% of SO42− was removed due to the fact that CO2 reacts with Ca2+ ion in the solution, and thus leads to the production of CaCO3 and SO42− ions in the solution. In the carbonation process without filtration, with the increase of CO2 in the solution the removal ratio of SO42− further decreases. Thermodynamic simulation was effective in predicting the theoretical removal limits and helps in understanding and optimizing the removal process. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Electronic Waste: Management and Recovery Technologies)
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Review

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Open AccessReview
E-Waste Reverse Supply Chain: A Review and Future Perspectives
Appl. Sci. 2019, 9(23), 5195; https://doi.org/10.3390/app9235195 - 29 Nov 2019
Cited by 4
Abstract
Electronic waste (e-waste) has become one of the fastest-growing waste, leading a globe issue. Reverse supply chain (RSC) is considered a potential way for e-waste management. Over the last two decades, RSC has received significant attention from industries, governments, experts, and researchers. A [...] Read more.
Electronic waste (e-waste) has become one of the fastest-growing waste, leading a globe issue. Reverse supply chain (RSC) is considered a potential way for e-waste management. Over the last two decades, RSC has received significant attention from industries, governments, experts, and researchers. A large number of studies have been published in the field of e-waste RSC. Most of the existing review papers concentrated on the general RSC models for all types of returned products. However, the review papers focusing on specific products, such as e-waste, are quite limited. To fill this gap published papers in the area of RSC for a specific product, e-waste, from 1999 to 2019 have been selected for review and analysis in this study. E-waste RSC studies have been divided into four main groups, namely, factors of implementation, performance evaluation and decision making, foresting product returns, and network design. Finally, some potential directions for e-waste RSC models have been suggested for future research. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Electronic Waste: Management and Recovery Technologies)
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