New CMI process recycles valuable rare earth metals from old electronics

Read the full story from the Critical Materials Institute.

Scientists at the Critical Materials Institute have developed a two-step recovery process that makes recycling rare-earth metals easier and more cost-effective.

California authorities crack down on cardboard theft

Read the full story in the Fresno Bee.

The crackdown in gritty, industrial suburbs east of Los Angeles aims to put a stop to a long-running practice that surges with cardboard prices and wallops trash company revenue — and could eventually push up trash collection rates for homeowners and shopkeepers.

New York City has battled cardboard theft for years. Local authorities elsewhere have cited those who swipe recyclables from waste hauler-provided bins, but the efforts haven’t curtailed the theft of cardboard, which can net anywhere from $100 to $200 a ton.

When the economy booms, cardboard prices rise as manufacturers make more goods and need more packaging to sell them. Thieves are more brazen, and steal much more, when cardboard prices peak.

Waste haulers count on selling the recyclables they retrieve at the curb to offset the cost of collection, industry experts said.

Techtastic: upcycling old electronics and mechanical items in a big way – in pictures

Read the full story in The Guardian.

Responsible disposal of electronic and mechanical items is a global challenge, but there is a creative way out. Here is a selection of the best of upcycled tech.

We need to talk about your old basement TV

Read the full post at Grist.

In the latest episode of “So You Think You’re Doing a Good Thing?” we discuss what to do with outdated yet still perfectly useful electronics. Spoiler: You’re going to feel guilty no matter what because that’s what it means to be environmentally conscious in a consumerist society.

If you live in the Champaign-Urbana (Illinois) area, the Champaign County Regional Planning Commission publishes a list of local places to recycle used electronics. Note that many of these locations are national chains or charities, so you may find it helpful even if you don’t live in the Champaign-Urbana area.

Application of Supercritical Water To Decompose Brominated Epoxy Resin and Environmental Friendly Recovery of Metals from Waste Memory Module

Kuo Li and Zhenming Xu (2015). “Application of Supercritical Water To Decompose Brominated Epoxy Resin and Environmental Friendly Recovery of Metals from Waste Memory Module.” Environmental Science & Technology 49 (3), 1761-1767. DOI: 10.1021/es504644b

Abstract: Waste Memory Modules (WMMs), a particular kind of waste printed circuit board (WPCB), contain a high amount of brominated epoxy resin (BER), which may bring a series of environmental and health problems. On the other hand, metals like gold and copper are very valuable and are important to recover from WMMs. In the present study, an effective and environmental friendly method using supercritical water (SCW) to decompose BER and recover metals from WMMs was developed instead of hydrometallurgy or pyrometallurgy simultaneously. Experiments were conducted under external-catalyst-free conditions with temperatures ranging from 350 to 550 °C, pressures from 25 to 40 MPa, and reaction times from 120 to 360 min in a semibatch-type reactor. The results showed that BER could be quickly and efficiently decomposed under SCW condition, and the mechanism was possibly free radical reaction. After the SCW treatments, the glass fibers and metal foils in the solid residue could be easily liberated and recovered, respectively. The metal recovery rate reached 99.80%. The optimal parameters were determined as 495 °C, 33 MPa, and 305 min on the basis of response surface methodology (RSM). This study provides an efficient and environmental friendly approach for WMMs recycling compared with electrolysis, pyrometallurgy, and hydrometallurgy.

Energizer Is Finally Making AA Batteries Using Recycled Materials

Read the full story in Gizmodo.

Once the use of toxic mercury in household batteries was eliminated a couple of decades ago, it finally became safe to just toss dead AAs in the trash. But if deep down you actually felt guilty about not being able to recycle them, Energizer’s here to help your conscious with its new EcoAdvanced AAs made with four percent recycled battery material.