WIT Press

The Recent Trend Of E-waste Recycling And Rare Metal Recovery In Japan


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WIT Press


H. Itoh


The efficient resource circulation of rare metals is one of the most important economic and political issues in an industrialized society. Rare and noble metals in e-wastes should be collected separately, treated by advanced processes, and then supplied as raw materials for high technology material production. In Japan, the home appliance recycling law was established in 2001 for recovery of base metals (Fe, Al, Cu, etc.), plastics and flons, subject to large electrical appliances such as TV’s, air conditioners, washing machines and refrigerators. After a long-term discussion, the recycling law of small household electrical appliances has been legislated in 2013 for the recovery of rare or noble metals in cellular phones, digital cameras, PC’s, printers, DVD players, game consoles, etc. On the other hand, there are many sorts of industrial wastes containing rare metals. Typical waste categories are classified as (1) effluents from plating plants or wastewater treatment industries, (2) e-wastes from electronic substrates, household appliances, and many kinds of batteries, (3) automobiles, tools and structural materials and (4) wastes from incinerators, melting furnaces and power stations. However, a small amount of rare metals in these industrial wastes has not been extracted intentionally, but usually disposed at landfill sites. The new concept of \“rare metal recovery complex” (RMRC) is now derived in order to collect the wastes containing rare metals and give them mechanical, physical and chemical treatments in a systematic complex plant. We refer to this infrastructure in Japan as \“urban mining”, which enables the minimum use of energy and reagents required for the crushing/shredding, separation and purification processes of rare metals. The present paper introduces the recent progress of rare metal recycling in Japan in the context of RMRC. Keywords: e-wastes, rare metals, urban mining, rare metal recovery complex.


e-wastes, rare metals, urban mining, rare metal recovery complex.