A new recycling technology developed in Japan will allow recycling of 100 percent of all electronic appliance waste.
Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., widely known as Panasonic, has developed a recycling technology in which valuable metals can be safely recovered from plastic-coated wires and other electronics equipment waste. The process also uses technology from Kusatsu Electric Co. Organic compounds in plastics, notably carbon, are transformed into harmless gases using the catalytic properties of titanium oxide (TiO2).
The technology is in use now at the Matsushita Eco Technology Center (METEC) to recover copper from degassing coils covered with vinyl chloride tape found in CRT TVs. Mixed plastic waste previously incinerated is treated and changed into non-toxic gases at METEC. The method also helps reduce carbon dioxide emissions because little external energy source is required in the gasification process.
According to Panasonic, about 80 percent by weight of all collected home appliances in Japan is recycled into metallic and plastic materials. The remaining 20 percent is currently regarded as non-recyclable waste, e.g. rubber, mixed glass and mixed plastic waste.