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State E-Waste Disposal Bans Have Been Largely Ineffective

Released: 8/26/2013 7:00 AM EDT
Embargo expired: 9/10/2013 11:00 AM EDT
Source Newsroom: American Chemical Society (ACS)

Tuesday, Sept. 10, 2013, 11 a.m. Eastern Time

Note to journalists: Please report that this research was presented at a meeting of the American Chemical Society.

A press conference on this topic will be held Monday, Sept. 9, at 4:30 p.m. in the ACS Press Center, Room 211, in the Indiana Convention Center. Reporters can attend in person or access live audio and video of the event and ask questions at

Sep. 11, 2013 - INDIANAPOLIS, Sept. 10, 2013 — One of the first analyses of laws banning disposal of electronic waste (e-waste) in municipal landfills has found that state e-waste recycling bans have been mostly ineffective, although California’s Cell Phone Recycling Act had a positive impact on cell phone recycling. However, e-waste recycling rates remain “dismally low,” and many demographic groups remain unaware of their alternatives for properly disposing of e-waste, according to the study.

Presented here today at the 246th National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society (ACS), it found that providing more information to women and older people could increase the effectiveness of e-waste disposal bans and recycling programs. The meeting of the world’s largest scientific society continues through Thursday, with almost 7,000 reports on new discoveries in science and other topics.

“The patchwork of state-by-state or even city-by-city measures that have been adopted to deal with e-waste have been ineffective,” said Jean-Daniel M. Saphores, Ph.D., who reported on the study. He is with the University of California at Irvine. “To implement more sustainable policies, producers, regulatory agencies and non-governmental organizations should adopt policies that focus on the big picture, which includes looking at the whole life cycle of products to minimize adverse environmental and public-health impacts.”

Estimates suggest that more than 84 million obsolete or broken television sets were gathering dust in closets, attics, garages and basements in households in the United States in 2010. There were almost 200 million obsolete or broken cell phones, and millions of old computer monitors and other electronic gear. The glass in old-fashioned TV sets contains lead, and electronic circuit boards contain arsenic, antimony, beryllium, cadmium, copper, lead, mercury, nickel and zinc. The rechargeable batteries in cellular phones contain cobalt, zinc and copper.

Concerned that lead and other potentially harmful materials used in those devices could enter the environment, states and municipalities have moved to prevent disposal of electronic waste with conventional trash. Saphores realized that there had been few studies on the effectiveness of those restrictions, so he conducted a survey of U.S. households to find out about how many broken, obsolete or unused cell phones and televisions they had in storage, what their intentions were regarding these items and what they had done in the past with old cell phones and TVs.

The Cell Phone Recycling Act of 2003, for instance, required retailers to establish and promote a system for accepting and collecting used cellular phones for reuse, recycling or proper disposal at no cost to the consumer. The Electronic Waste Recycling Act of 2003 established a series of requirements for manufacturers and retailers of electronic products that contain cathode ray tubes (CRTs) and liquid crystal display (LCDs) panels to encourage recycling and proper disposal.

Saphores’ 2010 survey of 3,156 households that are representative of the U.S. population concluded that California’s Cell Phone Recycling Act did have a significant positive impact in encouraging consumers to recycle old phones. Consumers typically keep a cell phone for about 18 months before upgrading, and the law fostered recycling of the old phones rather than junking them. However, state bans for CRTs and LCDs was “largely ineffective,” according to the study.

"The research found that women and the elderly are less aware of the recycling programs intended to properly deal with old electronics,” said Saphores. “The effectiveness of similar laws around the country could perhaps be improved by providing more information about the importance of proper disposal to those individuals. However, given the relative ineffectiveness of previous policies, it is time to implement deposit-refund systems, which have worked quite well for beverage containers."

Saphores spoke at a symposium, “Environmental Impacts of Electronic Technologies, Products and Processes: The Search for Sustainable Electronics.” Abstracts of the presentations appear below.

The American Chemical Society is a nonprofit organization chartered by the U.S. Congress. With more than 163,000 members, ACS is the world’s largest scientific society and a global leader in providing access to chemistry-related research through its multiple databases, peer-reviewed journals and scientific conferences. Its main offices are in Washington, D.C., and Columbus, Ohio.

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Jean-Daniel M. Saphores, Ph.D.
The Henry Samueli School of Engineering
University of California, Irvine
Irvine, California 92697
Phone: 949- 824-7334


E-waste bans and U.S. households' preferences for disposing of their e-waste
Jean-Daniel M Saphores1,, Natalia Milovantseva2. (1) Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of California, Irvine, Irvine, California 92697, United States, (2) School of Social Ecology, University of California, Irvine, Irvine, California 92697, United States

To prevent the dumping of e-waste, many states have instituted bans on its disposal in municipal landfills. However, the effectiveness of e-waste bans does not seem to have been analyzed yet. This paper starts addressing this gap. Using data from a survey of U.S. households, we estimate multivariate logit models to explain past disposal behavior by households of broken/obsolete (“junk”) cell phones and disposal intentions for “junk” TVs. We find that California's Cell Phone Recycling Act had a significant and positive impact on the recycling of junk cell phones; however, state disposal bans for junk TVs seem to have been mostly ineffective. Their effectiveness could be enhanced by providing more information about e-waste recycling to women, and more generally, to adults under 60. Given the disappointing performance of policies implemented to-date to enhance the collection of e-waste, it may be time to explore deposit-refund systems.

Cellulose nanocrystals reinforced epoxy nanocomposite for microelectronic applications
Shane X Peng,, Robert J Moon, Jeffrey Youngblood. Department of Materials Engineering, Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana 47907, United States

Here, we present a study of cellulose nanocrystal (CNC) reinforced epoxy nanocomposites for applications such as packaging, potting, adhesives, and circuit board materials in the microelectronic industry. CNCs are a renewable and sustainable material that can be utilized as a potential alternative for the fillers currently used in commercial epoxy. To generate an easy-to-use and commercially viable CNC/epoxy nanocomposite, CNCs were dispersed in the curing agents via a simple solvent exchange method to create a stable dispersion in the curing agents. The epoxy resin was then mixed with the curing agent containing CNC. To assess the compatibility of CNC with commercial epoxy systems, an array of nanocomposites were produced using different types of epoxies and curing agents. The mechanical and thermal properties of these CNC reinforced epoxy nanocomposites were evaluated and will be discussed.

Identifying environmental and human health impacts from exposure to toxins found in incinerated electronic waste (e-waste), through laboratory and TRACI analysis of categorized e-waste ashKathleen Hibbert2,, Oladele A. Ogunseitan1. (1) Department of Population Health & Disease Prevention Program in Public Health, University of California, Irvine, Irvine, California 92697, United States, (2) School of Social Ecology, University of California, Irvine, Irvine, California 92697, United States

This research identified quantified and scaled toxic metals and compounds in residual ash after burning electronic waste (e-Waste). Research used cell phone components divided into four categories: batteries, screens, circuit boards and plastics. Results of identified toxicants were then applied to the US EPA's chemical life-cycle assessment model "tools for the reduction and assessment of chemical and other environmental impacts" (TRACI). TRACI analysis assisted in scaling identified toxicants into order of potential impact on ecotoxicity, and human health (cancerous and non-cancerous). Applying TRACI's model to results, allowed for designation of which sources of exposure offer greater impact among urban air, rural air, freshwater, sea water, agricultural soil, and natural soil for specific metals and compounds. Antimony, arsenic, barium, beryllium, cadmium, chromium, copper, lead, mercury, molybdenum, nickel, silver, thallium, vanadium, zinc, benzene, chloroform, TCDD, and TCDF were identified, quantified and scaled for ecotoxicity, cancerous and non-cancerous potential impacts.

Lignin-epoxy nanocomposites as an alternative to brominated flame retardants
< B>Gamini Mendis,, Jeffery Youngblood, John Howarter. Department of Materials Engineering, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN 47906, United States

Brominated flame retardants are bio-accumulative, hazardous chemicals which are incorporated into many microelectronics devices. Due to the increasing rate and volume of electronics waste, the removal of hazardous chemicals is becoming increasingly important. Lignin is a bioderived macromolecule which shows promise as a flame retardant. Incorporation of lignin into epoxy resins could allow the replacement or substitution of brominated flame retardants in printed circuit boards. Mechanical and chemical methods have been developed to incorporate lignin into epoxy. The Mannich reaction was used to chemically bond the lignin onto an amine based hardener, which was used to cure the epoxy. The structure-property relationships of the resulting lignin-epoxy nanocomposites were examined through thermo-mechanical testing. The effects of the chemically modified lignin on flame retardancy will be discussed. Other relevant property comparisons will be shown between conventional flame retardant circuit boards and the bioderived specimen.

Clay as a fire retardant alternative in electronic components
Alex Bruce1,, Inez Hua2,3, John Howarter1,3. (1) Department of Materials Science and Engineering, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN 47906, United States, (2) Department of Civil Engineering, Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana 47906, United States, (3) Department of Ecological and Environmental Engineering, Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana 47906, United StatesFlame retardants are used in polymeric electronic components such as printed circuit boards (PCBs) in order to achieve acceptable retardancy properties: extinguishing burning within 10 second of ignition. These flame retardants commonly contain bromine--90% of the market share of PCBs uses tetrabromobisphenol A (TBBPA)--because bromine is effective as a flame retardant and does not degrade the mechanical and thermal properties of the PCBs. Many brominated flame retardants have come under critical examination recently because of their potential for long term toxicity and persistence in the environment. Clay is investigated as an alternative flame retardant material in a clay/surfactant/epoxy nanocomposite system. This system consists of differently surface modified montmorillonite clay in the epoxy diglycidyl ether of bisphenol A (DGEBA), cured with triethylenetetramine (TETA). The effect of surfactant structure on clay layer exfoliation in the cured nanocomposite is investigated through XRD and TEM. The relationship between clay surfactant structure and mechanical/thermal properties of the nanocomposites are characterized by DSC, TGA, and DMA. The nanocomposites are then evaluated for suitability as use in printed circuit boards based on the mechanical and thermal properties.

Leachability assessment of heavy metals in waste plasma display panels
Mengjun Chen1,3,, Pengfei Jiang1,3, Haiyian Chen1,3, Oladele A Ogunseitan2, Shu Chen1,3. (1) Ministry of Education, Key Laboratory of Solid Waste Treatment and Resource Recycle, Mianyang, Sichuan 621010, China, (2) Program in Public Health and School of Social Ecology, University of California, Irvine, Irvine, CA 92697, United States, (3) Department of Environmental Engineering, Southwest University of Science and Technology, Mianyang, Sichuan 621010, China

Plasma display panel (PDP) is a kind of flat panel display that will also rapidly becoming obsolete, contributing in large amounts to the waste stream. Therefore, in order to assess the leachability of heavy metals in waste PDP glass, leaching tests based on hazardous waste regulations in China and USA were conducted. We performed the sequential extraction procedure, EDTA- and DTPA-extractable bioavailability. The results indicate that PDP glass should not be classified as hazardous waste because none of the concentrations of the examined heavy metals exceeded their thresholds. However, TCLP revealed As concentrations of 4.46 mg/L, close to its regulation limit 5 mg/L, demonstrating a potential threat. The leached concentrations of Ag, Ba, Cu, Zn and Ni were negligible. EDTA- and DTPA-extractable Ag, As, Ba, Cu, Zn and Ni were in the range of 0.08 – 216.09 mg/kg, indicating a lower biohazards potential.

Distribution of As, Ba, Cu and Zn during waste plasma display panel glass recycling process by electro-kinetics
Mengjun Chen1,3,, Jinxiu Huang1,3, Haiyian Chen1,3, Oladele A Ogunseitan2, Shu Chen1,3. (1) Ministry of Education, Key Laboratory of Solid Waste Treatment and Resource Recycle, Mianyang, Sichuan 621010, China, (2) Program in Public Health and School of Social Ecology, University of California, Irvine, Irvine, CA 92697, United States, (3) Department of Environmental Engineering, Southwest University of Science and Technology, Mianyang, Sichuan 621010, China

Due to the rapid development of flat panel display, plasma display panels (PDPs) are now entering the electronic waste stream in large quantities as they are being phased out. In order to recycle metals such as As, Ba, Cu, Zn, from waste PDP glass, a new one-step— electro-kinetics — process was introduced and the distribution of these metals during the process was investigated. The recycling rates of As, Ba, Cu, Zn were 71.02%, 95.87%, 92.50% and 97.70%, respectively. As, Ba, Cu and Zn distributions in the cathode, anode and middle chamber varied with particle sizes, HNO3 concentration, and current density. Generally, most Cu was concentrated in cathode chamber, and Zn in the anode chamber, while As and Ba were in both cathode and anode chamber. The middle chamber contained less than 10% of the metals. These results have implications for avoidance of environmental pollution by waste PDPs and for effective recycling to minimize resource depletion.

Overview of the Sustainable Electronics Initiative at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Joy Scrogum,, William Bullock, Illinois Sustainable Technology Center (ISTC), University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Champaign, IL 61820, United States

The Sustainable Electronics Initiative (SEI) is dedicated to the development and implementation of a more sustainable system for designing, producing, remanufacturing, using, reusing, and recycling electronic devices. SEI is geared toward conducting and sponsoring research, as well as integrating principles of sustainability into the curricula and educational experiences of engineers, industrial designers, computer scientists, and others who will be involved in the future design, manufacture, and consumption of electronic products. This two-pronged approach lends immediate attention to greening current electronics and their use, as well as fostering positive environmental behavior in students who will become stakeholders involved with various stages of electronic product life cycles. Greening mindsets, in addition to greening current products, is crucial in order for the overall system to be truly sustainable. A brief history of the SEI project will be provided, along with an overview of past, current and planned projects.

Identifying substances of concern during informal recycling of electronics
Curtis A. Wray1,, Simona A. Balan2, Justin Bours2, Sarah I. Daniels2, Matteo F. Kausch2, Nicholas Pabo2, Sheba Plamthottam2, Martin J. Mulvihill2, Megan R. Schwarzman2. (1) Global Environmental Materials Team, Hewlett-Packard Co., Fort Collins, CO 80528, United States, (2) Berkeley Center for Green Chemistry, University of California-Berkeley, Berkeley, CA 94720, United States

Informal e-waste recycling is the recycling of electronics that occurs without adequate process and exposure controls in place. Despite best efforts to keep e-waste in a controlled recycling streams, many discarded electronics find their way to the developing world where they are processed using open pit burning, acid leaching, and other wet chemistries. These processes often release many harmful substances. While current regulations address some of the worst substances related to e-waste (Pb, Hg, Cd, PBDEs, etc.), the informal recycling process exposes both workers and the environment to many harmful non-restricted chemicals. As part of ongoing attempts to reduce the human health and environmental impacts of our products, the HP Global Environmental Materials Team collaborated with the Berkeley Center for Green Chemistry at the University of California-Berkeley to identify non-regulated substances that are potential health and environmental concerns during the informal recycling process. This talk will present the results of that collaboration including a framework way to identify potential substances of concern and a case study of the potential impacts of indium (found in touchscreens) during informal recycling.

Environmental impacts of 3D printed parts for use in consumer electronics
Michael McCoy,, Fu Zhao, Karthik Ramani. School of Mechanical Engineering, Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana 47907, United States

Additive manufacturing, commonly known as 3d printing is having a growing impact on manufacturing. This category of manufacturing techniques allows previously impossible shapes to be created quickly in small production runs in a wide variety of materials. Recently developed 3d printers have demonstrated the ability to print a variety of electrical components into the structure of a printed part as it is made. 3d printing is often claimed to be more environmentally friendly than traditional manufacturing techniques because printed parts create no wasted structural material and normally do not require additional machining after their initial printing. This study will analyze these claims using Unit Processes Life Cycle Inventory (UPLCI) and Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) techniques to determine the difference in environmental impact of a part made by 3d printing compared with traditional manufacturing techniques on a representative group of a variety of different 3d printed parts.

Examining both sides of the coin: The environmental benefits of IT applicationsEric Masanet,, Northwestern University, United States

The growing numbers of IT devices—and the impacts associated with their manufacture, use, and disposal—are topics that have received much attention in both the media and research community. While the environmental footprint of IT devices is indeed significant, a singular focus on their direct impacts ignores the indirect environmental benefits that IT devices might provide by improving societal energy and resource efficiencies. A growing body of research suggests that such benefits might be substantial across the economy through such applications as replacing physical goods with digital services, building controls for energy efficiency, and real-time logistics optimization. Still, our understanding of IT's negative aspects outweighs our understanding of its (potentially vast) benefits. Here we'll review the state of research on the benefits side of the equation, summarize results to date on various environmental benefits in different economic sectors, and discuss research challenges and opportunities for greater consideration of benefits moving forward.

Environmental impacts of photovoltaic solar panels at end-of-life
Kayla Collins,, Annick Anctil. Department of Environmental Engineering and Earth Sciences, Clemson University, Clemson, SC, United States

The toxicity characteristic of photovoltaic (PV) panels is investigated to quantify environmental impacts associated with their use and disposal. Because solar energy is perceived as a green technology, it is important to ensure that harmful use and end-of-life issues will not be detrimental to its long-term success. Procedures are developed for preparing samples for various extraction tests, including EPA Method 1311 and California WET, which are performed on various types of PV panels. Procedures developed for preparing samples for leaching tests and the results regarding the elements extracted will be discussed. The procedures developed for preparing samples will be useful for future PV panel testing. The results from the leaching tests will be useful for developing proper end-of-life procedures for the various components and types of PV panels, which enables us to take a positive step towards avoiding the e-waste problem with regard to photovoltaic panels.

Environmental life cycle and economic assessment of CRT funnel glass waste management options
Qingbo Xu1,2, Mengjing Yu1, Alissa Kendall3, Wenzhi He2, Guangming Li2Julie M. Schoenung1, (1) Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science, University of California, Davis, Davis, California 95616, United States, (2) College of Environmental Science and Engineering, Tongji University, Shanghai, China, (3) Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of California, Davis, Davis, California 95616, United States

Waste management options (hazardous landfilling, municipal landfilling, pyrometallurgy, hydrometallurgy, and closed-loop recycling) are evaluated for cathode ray tube (CRT) funnel glass from environmental and economic standpoints. The costs and revenues are modeled using technical cost modeling (TCM). The environmental consequences are modeled using life cycle assessment (LCA), using CML2001 and Eco-indicator'99. The LCA study shows that the CRT closed loop recycling is the best option in terms of sustainability. Second best is the hydrometallurgy process, because it avoids consumption of new raw materials and energy. The pyrometallurgy and hazardous waste landfill options have lower environmental impact compared with the municipal landfill but have high uncertainty. The economic analysis indicates the importance of transportation costs. Closed-loop recycling is most economical, but demand for waste CRT glass is declining. Under these conditions, extracting lead from the CRT funnel glass via the hydrometallurgy method is the preferred waste management option.

Sustainable electronic forum: Developing a technology roadmap
Endalkachew Sahle-Demessie,, John Leazer. Office of Research and Development, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Cincinnati, OH 45268, United States

The growth in the electronics industry and the increasing trans-boundary movement of E-waste requires collaborative endeavors to ensure sustainable management. Currently, the stewardship of electronics products across their lifecycle is not sustainable, and only a fraction of E-waste is refurbished, reused or recycled. Most electronic products contain a combination of hazardous materials, toxic materials, and valuable elements such as precious metals and rare earth elements. There are risks to human health associated with the disposal of E-waste in landfills, or treatment by incineration. Innovative solutions that integrate electronics manufacturing with recycling are needed to sustainably manage the electronics currently in use, while continuing to promote the future development of innovative technologies to meet market challenges. EPA/ORD in cooperation with the Johnson Foundation and Green Electronics Council convened a Sustainable Electronics Forum. The Forum developed a shared vision and roadmap on major research challenges, policy issues and business models for a sustainable stewardship of electronics products.

Technology trends heading for a collision
Wayne Rifer,, Green Electronics Council, Portland, OR 97204, United States

Two major trends in the arena of high technology and the environment are fast approaching a collision. One is the evolution, based on consumer demand and advancing technologies, of product ultra miniaturization. The other trend is a growing environmental stakeholder demand to break the back of the take/make/waste society – the eternal enemy of sustainability –as manifested in short lifetimes for throw-away products. Standing between these trends, and acting as a magnet drawing them toward each other, is the increasing sophistication of the material content of high technology. Products today contain rarely-before-used elements that are, or may become, supply-challenged for a myriad of causes. The scarcity of these resources, and/or geo-political forces that affect their supply, challenge the sustainability of the high technology industry and the wonderful devices that industry gives us. This paper will examine the factors inherent in this potentially intractable conflict of business and environmental values. The key to averting this collision lies in greater product reuse (getting longer service from the invested materials, energy and human ingenuity) and recycling (extending the use of materials into next-generation products). Several factors are major impediments; otherwise it would not be a challenge. The impediments, and opportunities, that this paper will examine – specifically as they relate to miniaturized computers in the form of tablets, slates, phones, cameras, etc. – include: 1) Product design for end-of-life (EoL), or the lack thereof; 2) Design for disassembly in order to repair, upgrade, refurbish and reuse; 3) Design for high value material recovery; 4) The minor role for reuse; 5) Conflicted motivations of producer take-back schemes; 6) Suboptimal treatment options; 7) The design of EoL systems – collection, processing and treatment – for optimal conservation and recovery of valuable resources; and 8) The determination of critical resources – what really makes sense to conserve and recover? Finally the paper will examine what some of the paths forward might be, including research, voluntary initiatives and standard setting.

Impacts from toxic chemicals in electronics lifecycle
Barbara Kyle,, Electronics TakeBack Coalition, San Francisco, CA 94110, United States

The electronics industry constantly dazzles us with new gadgets, new technologies, and new features. But behind the scenes, the many toxic chemicals used to make these products are causing harm, both to workers and communities where they are manufactured and recycled. Many of these toxic chemicals are used in the manufacturing process, but some also end up in the products themselves which are particularly problematic when it comes time to recycle or dispose of them. Each wave of new technology brings new materials and new toxic challenges. This talk will address what kinds of harm is occurring and why it's not being adequately addressed; why the structure of the electronics industry has made it difficult to solve this problem; pressure coming from around the globe to use safer chemicals in electronics manufacturing; and why chemical companies should be poised to respond to the pressure for safer chemicals.

Global sustainability: The case for electronics
Carol Handwerker1,, Robert Pfahl2, Bill Bader2. (1) Department of Materials Engineering, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN 47907, United States, (2) International Electronics Manufacturing Initiative, Herdon, VA 20170, United States

With the creation of electronics with ever increasing impact on our lives, questions of global and local sustainability are continuing to emerge. The electronics industry and its stakeholders are beginning to take action to promote sustainability. Sustainability has many dimensions - societal, environmental, and industrial, known colloquially as "people, plant, prosperity." From mining in the Democratic Republic of the Congo to manufacturing in China and end-of-life metals recovery in India, electronic products can serve as examples of how the the impacts of products that are currently externalized can be internalized. The importance of this internalization to sustainability and the long-term health of the global electronics industry cannot be overestimated. Using the 2013 iNEMI Roadmap chapter on Environmentally Sustainable Electronics as a starting point, we will discuss how the industry is approaching this challenge and what sustainability must look like.

Indiana's E-Waste Law
Meredith W. Jones,, Office of Pollution Prevention and Technical Assistance, Indiana Department of Environmental Management, Indianapolis, IN 46204, United States

As a response to the rapid growth in the amount of electronic waste (e-waste) being generated, the Indiana General Assembly passed the Indiana E-Waste Law in 2009. The law established an extended producer responsibility (EPR) program under which manufacturers of certain electronics have to meet an annual recycling obligation that is determined by their sales to households in the state. Indiana is currently one of twenty-five states with e-waste legislation in place. In my presentation I will discuss (1) the problems presented by the increasing amounts of e-waste that are being generated; (2) how the Indiana e-waste program is structured, including who has to register with the program and what they must do to remain in compliance; and (3) how the Indiana e-waste program fits into the larger picture of worldwide e-waste management.

Unit process life cycle inventory: Comparisons of a new core-shell Cu-Ag nanoparticle interconnect technology with reflow soldering
Milea J Kammer1,, Carol A Handwerker1, Fu Zhao2. (1) Department of Materials Science and Engineering, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN 47907, United States, (2) Department of Mechanical Engineering and Division of Environmental and Ecological Engineering, Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana 47907, United States

The current Sn-Ag-Cu (SAC) lead-free solders used in consumer electronics require higher processing temperatures than traditional Pb-Sn solders. Along with a higher processing temperature, the SAC system exhibits anisotropic solidification and thermal expansion and mechanical response that result in a decrease in mechanical and thermal stability. Developed in collaboration with electronics industry partners, the low temperature sintering of copper-silver core-shell nanoparticles is a promising alternative interconnect technology for lead-free electronic assemblies both at the component and the board levels. The environmental impact of the unit processes for interconnect formation using prototype copper-silver core-shell nanoparticle systems is evaluated and compared with conventional reflow soldering using a Unit Process Life Cycle Inventory (UPLCI) approach for both processes with emphasis on energy consumption.

Tracking separated plastic components from e-scrap
Michael L Johnston1,, Neil Peters-Michaud2, Jonathan J. Wilker1,3. (1) Department of Materials Engineering, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN 47907, United States, (2) Cascade Asset Management, Madison, WI 53704, United States, (3) Department of Chemistry, Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana 47907, United States

Recycling commodity plastics is difficult due to the need to separate the multitude of different polymer chemistries, additives, and plasticizers. Plastic components from e-scrap augment recycling complexity due to the additional separation of plastic from hazardous materials. A choice is presented on how to handle e-scrap conscientiously without placing the burden on developing counties whose means of separation are hazardous to the environment and human health. Responsible e-scrap recyclers have methods of separating the plastic housing (primarily ABS and HIPS), compact it, and ship it to be further processed or recycled. However, tracking and understanding the flow of separated plastic components from e-scrap demanufacturing operations in the U.S. to overseas plastics processors is still needed. This work aims to review what happens to polymeric components after they leave an e-waste recycling facility, the environmental impacts of electronic products and processes, and how end-of-life impacts can be reduced.


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