Printed circuit board recycling in Australia

Paper


Parsons, David. 2007. "Printed circuit board recycling in Australia." Achieving Business Benefits from Managing Life Cycle Impacts (2006). Melbourne, Australia 22 - 24 Nov 2006 Melbourne, Australia.
Paper/Presentation Title

Printed circuit board recycling in Australia

Presentation TypePaper
Authors
AuthorParsons, David
Journal or Proceedings TitleProceedings of the 5th Australian Conference on Life Cycle Assessment
Number of Pages11
Year2007
Place of PublicationMelbourne, Australia
ISBN0975723111
Conference/EventAchieving Business Benefits from Managing Life Cycle Impacts (2006)
Event Details
Achieving Business Benefits from Managing Life Cycle Impacts (2006)
Event Date
22 to end of 24 Nov 2006
Event Location
Melbourne, Australia
Abstract

Electronic printed circuit boards (PCBs) are complex assemblies which embody numerous materials and which require quite large quantities of energy and other materials to manufacture. They also include significant quantities of metals such as lead, copper and nickel some of which are toxic to life and all of which are valuable resources. Large volumes of printed circuit boards are imported into Australia every year in television receivers, computers etc. and these must eventually be disposed of. Recovery of the valuable materials and their diversion from landfill where leaching of toxic materials may occur, is an expensive process because of the complexity of the product and the relatively small quantities present on each printed circuit board.

This paper uses an LCA approach to examine the value of recycling various grades of PCB. It compares various scenarios from complete landfill to recycling of most metallic components for a range of different PCBs from complex (such as in computer boards) to more simple (such as found on computer CRT monitors) and includes the shipping of PCBs overseas for processing. The study suggests that recycling is very worthwhile from the point of view of material recovery but only marginally worthwhile on other measures. It also reveals that the logistics of collection arrangements are critical and must avoid dedicated vehicle trips to deliver small quantities of end-of-life product.

Keywordsprinted circuit boards; recycling; landfill; life cycle assessment
ANZSRC Field of Research 2020400508. Infrastructure engineering and asset management
401102. Environmentally sustainable engineering
410499. Environmental management not elsewhere classified
Byline AffiliationsDepartment of Electrical, Electronic and Computer Engineering
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