Waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) has become an important target in managing material cycles from the viewpoint of not only waste management and control of environmental pollution but also resource conservation. This study investigated the distribution tendency of trace elements in municipal solid waste (MSW) or incinerator ash, including valuable non-ferrous metals (Ni, Co, Cr, Mn, Mo, Ti, V, W, Zr), precious group metals (PGMs) originated from WEEE (Ag, Au, Pd, Pt), and others (Al, B, Pb, Si), between Fe-rich and Cu-rich metal phases by means of simple thermodynamic calculations. Most of the typical alloying elements for steel (Co, Cr, Mo, Nb, Ni, Si, Ti, V, and W) and Rh were preferentially distributed into the Fe-rich phase. PGMs, such as Au, Ag, and Pd, were enriched in the Cu-rich phase, whereas Pt was almost equally distributed into both phases. Since the primary metallurgical processing of Cu is followed by an electrolysis for refining, and since PGMs in crude copper have been industrially recovered from the resulting anode slime, our results indicated that Ag, Au, and Pd could be effectively recovered from MSW if the Cu-rich phase could be selectively collected.
- Melting process
- Metal recovery
- Municipal solid waste
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Waste Management and Disposal