Global occurrence, chemical properties, and ecological impacts of e-wastes (IUPAC Technical Report)
Purchase, Diane; Abbasi, Golnoush; Bisschop, Lieselot; Chatterjee, Debashish; Ekberg, Christian; Ermolin, Mikhail; Fedotov, Petr; Garelick, Hemda; Isimekhai, Khadijah; Kandile, Nadia G.; Lundström, Mari; Matharu, Avtar; Miller, Bradley W.; Pineda, Antonio; Popoola, Oluseun E.; Retegan, Teodora; Ruedel, Heinz; Serpe, Angela; Sheva, Yehuda; Surati, Kiran R.; Walsh, Fiona; Wilson, Benjamin P.; Wong, Ming Hung
Peer reviewed, Journal article
MetadataShow full item record
Original versionPure and Applied Chemistry. 2020, 92, 1733-1767. 10.1515/pac-2019-0502
The waste stream of obsolete electronic equipment grows exponentially, creating a worldwide pollution and resource problem. Electrical and electronic waste (e-waste) comprises a heterogeneous mix of glass, plastics (including flame retardants and other additives), metals (including rare Earth elements), and metalloids. The e-waste issue is complex and multi-faceted. In examining the different aspects of e-waste, informal recycling in developing countries has been identified as a primary concern, due to widespread illegal shipments; weak environmental, as well as health and safety, regulations; lack of technology; and inadequate waste treatment structure. For example, Nigeria, Ghana, India, Pakistan, and China have all been identified as hotspots for the disposal of e-waste. This article presents a critical examination on the chemical nature of e-waste and the resulting environmental impacts on, for example, microbial biodiversity, flora, and fauna in e-waste recycling sites around the world. It highlights the different types of risk assessment approaches required when evaluating the ecological impact of e-waste. Additionally, it presents examples of chemistry playing a role in potential solutions. The information presented here will be informative to relevant stakeholders seeking to devise integrated management strategies to tackle this global environmental concern.