A novel approach is presented to capture some of the potentially toxic elements (PTEs), other particulates and emissions during the heat treatment of e-waste using alumina adsorbents. Waste PCBs from mobile phones were mechanically crushed to sizes less than 1 mm; their thermal degradation was investigated using thermo-gravimetric analysis. Observed weight loss was attributed to the degradation of polymers and the vaporization of organic constituents and volatile metals. The sample assembly containing PCB powder and adsorbent was heat treated at 600 °C for times ranging between 10 and 30 min with air, nitrogen and argon as carrier gases. Weight gains up to ∼17% were recorded in the adsorbent thereby indicating the capture of significant amounts of particulates. The highest level of adsorption was observed in N2 atmosphere for small particle sizes of alumina. SEM/EDS results on the adsorbent indicated the presence of Cu, Pb, Si, Mg and C. These studies were supplemented with ICP-OES analysis to determine the extent of various species captured as a function of operating parameters. This innovative, low-cost approach has the potential for utilization in the informal sector and/or developing countries, and could play a significant role in reducing toxic emissions from e-waste processing towards environmentally safe limits.
- Potentially toxic emissions
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Waste Management and Disposal