Electronic waste is a topic that has been covered numerously in different contexts- from landfills, to child labor, to toxic air pollution from burning, all the way to recycling practices of manufacturers.
Awareness has been raised on various occasions, and people do tend to bring the old gadget for recycling, instead of just dumping it when it is no longer needed.
But even then, recycling of electronics can be a hard job, especially when it comes to circuit boards– the most difficult to recycle part in any electronics. Now, three British companies developed a new sustainable and recyclable component, which essentially detaches all components on the board and makes them ready to be recycled only by placing it into hot water to it.
The new technology is called ReUse, which is an abbreviation for Reusable, Unzippable, Sustainable Electronics. It has layers of conductive adhesive and inks applied onto a recyclable thermoplastic substrate to which all components are then attached. Once the gadget is no longer in use, all that is needed is to put the ReUse board into near-boiling hot water. This process makes the components easily detachable from the board, leaving them completely unharmed and ready for recycling. If you still do not believe it, have a look at this video, it shows you exactly how the tech works.
I guess one of the emerging questions here would be if simply spilling a bit of water on the device (yeah, I know, I know, it should never be done, and yet it happens, sigh) will make it fall apart, but no, it will not. Unless you drop the gadget in a cup of boiling tea, ReUse will remain intact.
It is often with such technologies that the makers start dreaming of all manufacturers suddenly wanting to buy their invention and incorporate it into their latest gadget models. But what is nice about Chris Hunt, head of the Electronics Interconnection Team at the National Physical Laboratory, who took part in the development, and his partners, is that they know ReUse would only work if everyone moves towards sustainability, Else, a change will not happen while profits are growing, no matter what.
Image (c) The Guardian