Waste Electrical and Electronic Appliances Valorization in Colombia: An Alternative for Obtaining Precious Metals and Metals Used in Industry

Keywords: Chemical process, hydrometallurgy, waste recovery, sustainable development


This article aims to review the global context, and especially the Colombian context, regarding the management of waste electrical and electronic appliances, their use, recovery and the main extraction methods for high added-value base and precious metals. A literature review was carried out to obtain the quantities of residues, their main components and the extraction methods for base and precious metals; for Colombia, a case study was carried out in which, through a hydrometallurgy process applied to cellular phones, the quantities of base and precious metals that can be obtained were calculated. Only 15.5 % of e-waste in the world is recycled, the main recyclable components are iron (Fe), copper (Cu), aluminum (Al), lead (Pb), nickel (Ni), silver (Ag), gold (Au) and palladium (Pd), and that using e-waste as a source of metals could reduce energy consumption by 60-95 %. For the case study in Colombia, it was found that 3.8 t/year of Cu, 3.5 t/year of Fe, 56.5 kg/year of Ag, 6 kg/year of Pd and 10 kg/year of Au could be obtained. The conclusion is that recovering metals from electrical and electronic waste is feasible and that alternatives should be sought to take advantage of them due to their potential added value.

Author Biographies

Carlos E. Aristizábal-Alzate*, Instituto Tecnológico Metropolitano, Colombia

Instituto Tecnológico Metropolitano, Medellín-Colombia, carlosaristizabal207157@correo.itm.edu.co

José L. González-Manosalva, Instituto Tecnológico Metropolitano, Colombia

 Instituto Tecnológico Metropolitano Medellín -Colombia, josegonzalez@itm.edu.co

Andrés F. Vargas, Instituto Tecnológico Metropolitano, Colombia

Instituto Tecnológico Metropolitano, Medellín -Colombia, andresvargas@itm.edu.co


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How to Cite
C. E. Aristizábal-Alzate, J. L. González-Manosalva, and A. F. Vargas, “Waste Electrical and Electronic Appliances Valorization in Colombia: An Alternative for Obtaining Precious Metals and Metals Used in Industry”, TecnoL., vol. 24, no. 51, p. e1740, Apr. 2021.


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