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Process to track valuable e-waste revealed

Wednesday, February 14, 2018 - 10:26:24

Recycling industry organisation, ProSUM, has revealed the Urban Mine Platform this month as a solution to the e-waste issues facing many European countries.

Alphr reports that this platform acts as a repository for information relating to the whereabouts of precious materials which are contained within old smartphones, computers and other electronic items that are dumped by consumers and businesses alike.

Mobiles alone are home to 40 different materials which are both intrinsically valuable and difficult to extract and process in their raw form. As a result, there is a significant incentive for recycling this type of device rather than allowing it to go to waste.

By extracting key minerals such as gold, silver and copper from old handsets, experts estimate that there would be an 80 per cent reduction in the carbon footprint compared with actively mining them using traditional methods.

The concept of ‘urban mining’, or recycling e-waste to reclaim the materials within, is not a new one. But this platform aims to make it much easier to achieve across the entire continent.

It is not just the devices themselves which are potentially valuable, but also the batteries used to power them. And anyone can access the Urban Mine Platform to keep tabs on collection rates, see which materials are present in which products and generally learn more about the issue at hand.

Spokesperson, Jaco Huisman, said that this data had previously been stored separately, in fragmented formats, which made it difficult to get a good idea of the state of play in the e-waste industry at any one time. This new platform pools the information from various governments, businesses and other bodies to overcome these issues and, ultimately, to make it easier to tackle the complex and growing problems caused by e-waste.




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