As consumers toss aside old cell phones, tablets and laptops to keep up with the latest technology, landfills are becoming full of the old devices. To address this buildup, scientists are attempting to recover valuable plastics from this electronic waste, or “e-waste.”
Now, one group reports in ACS Sustainable Chemistry & Engineering that they have found an eco-friendly alternative to current methods. In 2009, U.S. consumers discarded 2.37 million tons of e-waste, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. This type of refuse is a broad category that includes everything from phones and video game consoles to refrigerators and televisions. These devices contain valuable plastics, such as polycarbonates. In an effort to reduce the amount of e-waste accumulating in landfills and recover the valuable polymers, researchers have explored different extraction methods.
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