World's first microfactory to process e-waste
What is the issue ?
- An Indian origin scientist in Australia has launched a microfactory capable of converting components used in electronic waste into valuable products.
What is a 'microfactory' in general ?
- A microfactory is one or a series of small machines and devices that uses patented technology to perform one or more functions in the reforming of waste products into new and usable resources.
How does the process work ?
- The discarded devices are first placed into a module to break them down.
- The next module may involve a special robot for the identification of useful parts.
- Another module then involves using a small furnace which transforms these parts into valuable materials by using a controlled temperature process developed via extensive research.
Why is this important in today's context :
- To address the rapidly growing problem of vast amounts of electronic waste causing environmental harm and going into landfill.
- To tackle local waste problems and to develop a commercial opportunity from the valuable materials that are created.
Examples of how waste can be converted into useful products :
- Computer circuit boards can be transformed into valuable metal alloys such as copper and tin.
- Glass and plastic from e-devices can be converted into micromaterials used in industrial grade ceramics and plastic filaments for 3D printing.