When buying another new smartphone to replace the old one, we do not think about its future fate. But it should be. More than 44 million tonnes of e-waste were generated in 2016, according to global monitoring data. By 2021, this figure may grow to 52 million tons.
The aim of the SMaRT project, in which the Center for Research on Sustainable Materials and Technologies of the University of South Wales (Australia) is participating, is to find a solution to this problem. As part of the project, on April 4, the world's first micro-factory for processing electronic waste into useful materials was launched.
The micro-factory can be built at the e-waste storage site and even in space: its area is only 50 square meters. meters, and the modular design facilitates quick installation of the equipment.
The recycling complex includes several small modules designed to destroy electronic devices, where they are fed through a system for identifying valuable components, followed by loading into a furnace, in which various metals are smelted for reuse, for example, copper and tin.
Another module will be used to recycle plastics, which can then be used to make filaments and other materials for printing on 3D printers.