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United States: E-scrap may literally have a green lining now that a research team in the USA is developing a semiconductor chip made almost entirely of wood.
The ultra-thin green chips with wood-derived substrate are said to mirror the performance of existing ones, according to electrical and computer engineering specialist Dr Zhenqiang Ma of the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He believes that the flexibility of the technology can lead to ‘widespread adoption’ of the chips.
This ecological approach could have a big impact on what is consigned to landfills every year, Ma stresses. Another benefit is that the new process ‘greatly reduces’ the use of expensive and potentially toxic materials. ‘Now the chips are so safe you can put them in the forest and fungus will degrade them – they become as safe as fertilizer,’ he points out.
His research team is currently in talks with a US start-up company to explore how best to commercialise the concept.
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Austria: Worldwide, electronics recyclers are facing difficult times. Metal prices have declined, the metal content in electronic devices has shrunk while the costs of collection and treatment have risen, Stefan Georg Fuchs of copper recycling major Aurubis told a press conference staged during the 2015 International Electronics Recycling Congress (IERC) held last week in Salzburg, Austria.
‘For some types of computers and other IT equipment, metal content has fallen by more than 50%,’ Fuchs pointed out. ‘At the same time, the costs of collection, treatment and environmentally sound recovery have increased while prices have declined. Today, most non-ferrous and precious metal prices are on the level of four or five years ago.’
As a consequence, said Fuchs, many recycling companies have suffered ‘huge losses or even had to cease operations’. The Aurubis representative went on to underline the importance of improving the collection infrastructure. ‘Increasing the efficiency of collection systems by only a few percent can make the difference between survival and insolvency,’ he suggested.
And he also called on the industry to raise awareness of the importance of proper e-scrap recycling. ‘This counts for all countries worldwide, ranging from the EU to the US to India and Brazil,’ he said.
For more information, visit: www.arubis.com
Austria: More than 500 professionals and experts are expected to attend the 14th International Electronics Recycling Congress (IERC), which will take place in Salzburg mid January 2015. Topics to be discussed at the three-day event will include: WEEE 2020; the e-scrap value chain; 100 years of recycling in Finland; an update on electronics recycling in Kenya; and presentations on technical innovations.
This year’s guest speaker will be Ron Garan, ceo of US-based Impact CoLab – a retired NASA astronaut who believes that appropriate design and targeted social enterprise can solve many of the problems our world is facing. In addition, keynote speaker Telis Mistakidis of Glencore (Switzerland) will give an overview of the company’s metals business while David Higgins of the Interpol Environmental Crime Programme will focus on improving law enforcement regarding illegal waste shipments.
A large exhibition area will be integrated into the conference facility where equipment and service providers can meet potential clients. Cocktail receptions and a networking dinner will be held in order to bring together business partners, friends and competitors.
The congress organisers are also offering tours of plants in the vicinity of Salzburg, including a copper smelter and a major shredder plant.
For more information, contact: ICM
Phone: +41 62 785 1000