Electronic and electrical products, such as mobile phones, personal computers, printers, and television sets, are ubiquitous in modern society. It has been estimated that more than 50 million tons(1) of end-of-life electronic waste (E-waste) is generated by these products annually and that these waste streams are growing rapidly. Recycling infrastructures are becoming available as product take-back programs and other means of collecting end-of-life electronic products emerge. However, fundamental challenges associated with the deconstruction of electronic products and establishment of complex systems required for sustainable resource recovery continue to exist. Typically, deconstruction and recycling of E-waste is conducted where the market price for manual labor is low, and in many scenarios, the level of environmental monitoring and control is minimal. E-waste is a critical material flow that must be managed to deliver circularity in terms of maximizing value and resource utilization; however, this must not compromise human health and other sustainable development goals. The opportunities associated with E-waste flow, together with the potential environmental and human impacts of unrecovered E-waste materials, have led many in the sustainable chemistry and engineering communities to develop environmentally friendly technologies to treat and recycle E-waste. This editorial is intended to identify chemistry and engineering challenges associated with advanced and sustainable recycling technologies and management of E-waste, focusing on areas where ACS Sustainable Chemistry & Engineering (ACS SCE) would welcome manuscripts.
|Journal||ACS Sustainable Chemistry and Engineering|