Many millions of tonnes of TVs, handsets and other electronic tools get disposed of every year, in spite of them being an affluent source of metals. However, at the present time, e-waste mining has the perspective to turn out to be big business.
Professor Veena Sahajwalla, an IIT-trained Indo-Australian scientist, has launched the globe's first micro plant to crash and repurpose electronic waste in Australia fabricates gold, silver, and copper.
Her "urban mine" at the University of New South Wales (UNSW) is drawing out metals not from rock, but from electronic appliances.
The Sydney-based expert in materials science considers her process will turned out to be resourceful enough to be making a profit in the coming years.
"Economic modelling shows the cost of around $500,000 Australian dollars (£280,000) for a micro-factory pays off in two to three years, and can generate revenue and create jobs," she stated.
"That means there are environmental, social and economic benefits."
In actual fact, study showcases that such types of facilities can really be far more lucrative than conventional mining.
Prof Veena Sahajwalla was in the national capital during the last week, where she stated that her knowledge can be used at Seelampur and Mayapuri to assist "kabadiwallas" (waste collectors) earn good returns by creating value-added items from waste items in a secure and sustainable way.
Sahajwalla, a materials researcher and Director of the Centre for Sustainable Materials Research and Technology (SMaRT) at the University of New South Wales (UNSW) Sydney, said that the micro plants will not “force out” the waste collectors from their line of work but assist increase income generation and perk up their lives in a big manner.
The top-quality metals such as gold, silver, copper, palladium - in the e-waste can get carved up by the micro plants for re-sale in situations, which are completely secure.
Sahajwalla said that plastic consists of 40% of the e-waste and is generally burnt, increasing air contamination.
“There is no reason to burn plastic as micro-factories can create filament with plastic,” she stated.
In a statement released by the United Nations University, the Global E-waste Monitor claimed that humankind produced 44.7 million metric tons of e-waste in the year 2016, which is equal to 6.1 kilograms per person.