Optimizing electronics end-of-life disposal costs

Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Date of Original Version



Increasing environmental concerns about the disposal of mass produced products have resulted in efforts to take back end-of-life consumer products. Legislation aimed at forcing manufacturers to take back electronics products at the end of their useful lives along with shrinking landfill capacity and the reluctance of communities to open new waste sinks, underscores the importance of developing methods and models for the management of end-of-life materials and products. These models are aimed at optimizing end-of-life disposal costs for electronic products. Analysis for minimizing the cost of the collection of end-of-life products, disassembly to remove target components, material separation sequences for bulk recycling and the smelting of material mixtures for precious metal recovery have been developed. This paper reports on an integrated electronics recycling model and a proposed solution technique using genetic algorithms. The models described can be used by recycling and material recovery processors for optimizing recycling operations and thus contribute towards the economic sustainability of electronics recycling. In addition the procedures described can be used during product design to evaluate the material content of products for improved end-of-life material recovery. These procedures also highlight logistical problems that must be addressed in the development of efficient infrastructures for material recovery in the future.

Publication Title

IEEE International Symposium on Electronics and the Environment

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