Electronic waste generation, recycling and resource recovery: Technological perspectives and trends


Rene E.R., Sethurajan M., Kumar Ponnusamy V., Kumar G., Bao Dung T.N., Brindhadevi K., Pugazhendhi A.

Source title

Journal of Hazardous Materials

Publication year

The growing population and increased disposal of end-of-life (EoL) electrical and electronic products have caused serious concerns to the environment and human health. Electronic waste (e-waste) is a growing problem because the quantity and the rate at which it is generated has increased exponentially in the last 5 years. The rapid changes or upgradation in technologies, IT requirements for working or learning from home during COVID-19, manufacturers releasing new electronic gadgets and devices that serves the consumers comfort and a declension in services has contributed to an increase in the e-waste or waste of electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) generation rates. The current status of e-waste generation, handling procedures and regulatory directives in USA, EU, China, India, Vietnam and Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries are presented in this review. The recent developments in e-waste recycling methods/recovery of base and precious metals, the advantages and limitations of hydrometallurgy, pyrometallurgy, biohydrometallurgy and pyrolysis are discussed. Considering the impediments in the present technologies, the extraction of valuable resources, i.e. precious metals, from e-waste using suitable biocatalysts shows promising applications. This review also stresses on the research needs to assess the economic effects of involving different unit operations/process industries for resource recovery, reuse and recycling.