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Electronic waste as a secondary source of critical metals: Management and recovery technologies

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)296-312
JournalResources, Conservation and Recycling
Publication statusPublished - 2018
Publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


The wealth of the society depends on several metals, including base metals, precious metals and increasingly rare earth elements (REE). They are collectively termed as technology metals. Numerous applications stimulated the use of technology metals, and their supply is at stake, owing to the high demand and uneven geographical distribution of these metals. Their stable supply is crucial for the transition to a sustainable and circular economy. There is an increasing interest in secondary sources of these metals. This article outlines the global state of electronic waste, its management and the latest technological developments in metal recovery from various streams of electronic waste. An emphasis is given to printed circuit boards (PCB), hard disc drives (HDD) and displays regarding their critical metal content. Physical, pyrometallurgical and (bio)hydrometallurgical metal recovery technologies are overviewed. In addition, perspectives on electronic waste as a secondary source of critical metals are given.


  • Critical metals, Hard disc drives (HDD), Liquid crystal displays (LCD), Printed circuit boards (PCB), Secondary source, WEEE

Publication forum classification

Field of science, Statistics Finland