DOI: 10.5593/sgem2017/11/S04.095


J. Grabowski, M. Cempa, J.C. Moszko
Tuesday 12 September 2017 by Libadmin2017

References: 17th International Multidisciplinary Scientific GeoConference SGEM 2017, www.sgem.org, SGEM2017 Conference Proceedings, ISBN 978-619-7105-98-8 / ISSN 1314-2704, 29 June - 5 July, 2017, Vol. 17, Issue 11, 751-758 pp, DOI: 10.5593/sgem2017/11/S04.095


With the current situation in world economy, rare earth elements are a valuable resource for many innovative technologies. Low supply of these elements and sparse mining sources concentrated in just a few countries caused REE to become a resource critical to the development of many high-tech branches of the industry. Although rare earth elements are widespread in the nature, due to their low concentration in most minerals, their processing based on flotation, gravity or magnetic separation of a concentrate is often economically unfeasible. Additionally, the inability to replace them with other resources means that recycling REE from industrial waste may become a significant source of this resource in the future.
One of such sources can be electronic waste, whose collection is becoming increasingly effective and recycling technologies increasingly efficient.
In Poland, collection of used electrical and electronic equipment has significantly increased over the last 10 years, from 0.13 kg of using equipment per person in 2006 to 4.29 kg in 2016. It has been estimated that in 2015 over 256,000 Mg of electric and electronic appliances have been put on the market in Poland and the collection of used equipment has been estimated at over 199,000 Mg. Among this type of used electrical and electronic equipment, including household appliances, lighting equipment, tools, medical products, and machines, the most valuable resource is computer and telecommunications equipment and photovoltaic panels, whose collection in 2015 has been estimated at 45,000 Mg.
Apart from significant amounts of Cu, Fe, Al and lower amounts of noble metals (Au, Ag, Pt), these wastes also contain small amounts of rare earth elements, depending on the type of appliance.
The present publication presents a basic characteristic of electrical and electronic wastes, including the results of tests for rare earth element for chosen type of electronic waste that are subject to selective collection and whose collection levels increased significantly in the recent years. Technological possibilities for rare earth element recycling in Poland in the context of the current electronic waste collection and processing system have also been assessed.

Keywords: rare earth elements, electronic waste, recycling technologies, waste management, potential

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