e-Waste Recycling: New Application Note

e-Waste, Recycling,

We have updated our Application Notes Section with the results of a new study into the leaching of high tech metals from consumer electronic waste (e-waste) – in this case recycling iPhones.

The study, conducted with Pauline Andrey and Pierre Rossi of EPFL, used the SELFRAG Lab to crush a series of iPhones to generate several streams of waste products including glass, plasics, and metals. These streams were then leached in acid with and without bacterial mediation, and the amount of metal that had gone into solution measured.


e-Waste, Recycling,
Metal components recovered after iPhone fragmentation


The results show that bacterial mediation of the leaching reaction enhances the amount of metals that go into solution.

Leach solutions at EPFL


While this study did not aim to find a difference between metal recovery after mechanical crushing and after EPF treatment, EPF was the chosen method due to speed and liberation of components.


Chart showing metal concentration in solution for major technology metals. for bacterially mediated (blue) and non-bacterially mediated (orange) leach reactions.


This work was awarded two prizes: The first prize was from the “Association Romande pour la protection de l’eau et de l’air” (François Lancoud Prize, from the ARPEA) which encourages projects that are innovative and have a strong impact on the environment.   The second one was from the Swiss Association of Ingineers and Architects (Prix SIA) who particularly appreciated the sustainable aspect of the project, with a strong focus on economy, people and environment.

For more information on our e-waste recycling contact SELFRAG.