How do you recycle a transistor?

Recycling of gold in electronic equipment

WEEE is defined as waste electrical and electronic equipment, its materials, components, consumables and sub-assemblies from both private households and professional use.

Electrical and electronic appliances are those that require an electric current or electromagnetic field to operate, with a nominal operating voltage of less than 1,000 V in alternating current and 1,500 V in direct current. Also considered as such are the devices necessary to generate, transmit and measure currents and fields.

All equipment must be identified with the symbol of a crossed-out container to inform consumers that it may not be thrown in the trash, but must be collected selectively.

The rapid evolution of technology that we live in today has resulted in a huge generation of waste electrical and electronic equipment, and estimates suggest that WEEE is currently growing at a rate 3 times higher than the rest of municipal solid waste (MSW).

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Electronic scrap business

Duke University experts have succeeded in printing a functional transistor with three carbon “inks” that, once used, can be recycled with virtually no loss of effectiveness of the components

Meanwhile, estimates from the Global E-Waste Monitor reveal that 2019 saw a record high in e-waste production worldwide, specifically more than 53.6 million metric tons.

“Silicon-based computing components will probably never go away, and we don’t expect easily recyclable electronics like ours to replace technology and devices that are already widely used,” said Aaron Franklin, professor of electrical and computer engineering at Duke.

Using the three inks in an aerosol jet printer at room temperature, the team has demonstrated that their all-carbon transistors perform well enough to be used in a wide variety of applications, even six months after initial printing.

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By combining nanocellulose with printable ink they succeeded in making a dielectric ink. This resulting ink was again combined with a conductive one made of graphene and carbon nanotubes. The end result is a carbon ink that conducts electricity and can be printed on a paper substrate with jet printing. With this ink they were able to create a transistor and they say that other electronic components can be created as well.

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Its creators are clear that with this they are not going to replace the entire silicon industry and the other materials used in the current construction of electronic components. However, they believe it serves to “demonstrate that these kinds of new materials and their functionality is hopefully a step in the right direction.”

Electronic scrap price

That is to say, if it is an object that works thanks to batteries, battery or plugged to electric current, it will be an EEE. Also included in this group are the devices necessary to generate, transmit and measure such currents and fields.

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For example, refrigerators, washing machines, televisions, consoles, electric drills, cell phones, tablets or computers are appliances of this type. These are objects that are widely used and, likewise, frequently discarded. When they stop working, they become WEEE (waste electrical and electronic equipment).

There are many other options, since, being an old device, you can experiment with it without fear of breaking it. Therefore, before taking it to a clean point, try to give it a second life and reuse this device.