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Waste Manag. 2004;24(5):425-36.

Material and heavy metal balance in a recycling facility for home electrical appliances.

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  • 1Lab of Solid Waste Disposal Engineering, Graduate School of Engineering, Hokkaido University, Kita-13 Nishi 8, Kita-ku, Sapporo, 060-8628, Japan.


Collection and recycling of home electrical appliances was started in Japan in 2001 under a new recycling law. The law is aimed at promoting material recycling and at reducing the amount of waste to be landfilled. End of life products are processed by manual disassembly, shredding, and separation in 38 recycling facilities. The authors conducted a questionnaire survey and interviewed at some facilities to obtain information on process flow and material balance. By using the detailed records offered by one facility and by estimating the composition of recovered components, the material balance in the facilities was determined for four typical recycling processes. The heavy metal content of the recovered components was analyzed, then metal flow in the process was determined for each scenario. As a result, it was concluded that emissions to the environment of most heavy metals have been substantially reduced by the new recycling system, while a modest improvement in the rate of material recovery has been achieved.

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