'Significant' benefits offered by India's new e-cycling method

India: The Central Scientific Instruments Organisation in India has developed a technology to recover metal from discarded electronics in an environmentally-friendly way.

The new approach is said to involve safer chemical steps, converting zinc waste into a high-value zinc salt using simple leaching and hydrothermal stages, according to the Indian research team.

The commercial price of the recovered product is currently around Rs 800 000 per kg (US$ 11 940) and so the economic benefits of this new process are ‘significant’ for the recycling industries, it is claimed.

A recent study by Assocham-cKinetics suggests that India will generate annually some 5.2 million tonnes of e-scrap by 2020 compared to current levels of 180 000 tonnes, equivalent to an annual compound growth rate of around 30%. Researchers hope this latest breakthrough will boost India’s e-cycling rate currently standing at just 1.5%.

Discarded electronics account for up to 40% of lead and 70% of heavy metals dumped in landfills by the countless players in India’s informal recycling sector.

Sign up now for our free, weekly newsletter