Each year, there is an increase in cell phone production and sales, but following that leads to a large  amount of waste build up. Cell phones are difficult to recycle, as it has been  nearly impossible to separate all the small parts until now. University of  British Columbia researchers have discovered a process for separating fiberglass and resin which are two of the most common discarded pieces in a cell phone. Almost two billion new phones are built and released in the market yearly. This also creates a growing pile of electronic waste. The researchers’ goal is to find an efficient way to break down old cell phones and turn them into reusable materials that will not harm the environment. Most recycling plants can only harvest the useful metals in the electronic such as the gold, silver, copper, and palldium. Other materials like fiberglass and resin are incinerated or tossed out, because they are more difficult to process. These materials make up most of the phone. The researchers wanted to find a better solution to reclaim these materials that  were being thrown out. They developed a separating process of the fiberglass  and resin by using gravity separation and other simple physical techniques. This process is also environmentally neutral. They hope in the future they  can improve this process and the quality so the new, recycled fiberglass  could be used to manufacture new circuit boards. They are pushing their project mainstream by pairing with Ronin8, a Richmond, B.C. recycling company  that separates and recycles different materials. This is a proper step in  hopes to cut back on our e-waste that is polluting the planet.

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Science Daily