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Masahiro Oguchi, Shinsuke Murakami, Hirofumi Sakanakura, Akiko Kida, and Takashi Kameya (2011)

A preliminary categorization of end-of-life electrical and electronic equipment as secondary metal resources

Waste Management, 31:2150-2160.

End-of-life electrical and electronic equipment (EEE) has recently received attention as a secondary source of metals. This study examined characteristics of end-of-life EEE as secondary metal resources to consider efficient collection and metal recovery systems according to the specific metals and types of EEE. We constructed an analogy between natural resource development and metal recovery from end-of-life EEE and found that metal content and total annual amount of metal contained in each type of end-of-life EEE should be considered in secondary resource development, as well as the collectability of the end-of-life products. We then categorized 21 EEE types into five groups and discussed their potential as secondary metal resources. Refrigerators, washing machines, air conditioners, and CRT TVs were evaluated as the most important sources of common metals, and personal computers, mobile phones, and video games were evaluated as the most important sources of precious metals. Several types of small digital equipment were also identified as important sources of precious metals; however, mid-size information and communication technology (ICT) equipment (e.g., printers and fax machines) and audio/video equipment were shown to be more important as a source of a variety of less common metals. The physical collectability of each type of EEE was roughly characterized by unit size and number of end-of-life products generated annually. Current collection systems in Japan were examined and potentially appropriate collection methods were suggested for equipment types that currently have no specific collection systems in Japan, particularly for video games, notebook computers, and mid-size ICT and audio/video equipment. © 2011 Elsevier Ltd.

Characterization, Collectability, End-of-life electrical and electronic equipment, Metal, Secondary resource, WEEE

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