Development of copper rich metallic phases from waste printed circuit boards

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The rapid consumption and obsolescence of electronics has resulted in e-waste being one of the fastest growing waste streams worldwide. Printed circuit boards (PCBs) are among the most complex e-waste, containing significant quantities of hazardous and toxic materials leading to high levels of pollution if landfilled or processed inappropriately. However, PCBs are also an important resource of metals including copper, tin, lead and precious metals; their recycling is appealing especially as the concentration of these metals in PCBs is considerably higher than in their ores. This study is focused on a novel approach to recover copper rich phases from waste PCBs. Recycling e-waste is expected to lead to enhanced metal recovery, conserving natural resources and providing an environmentally sustainable solution to the management of waste products.