Title : Lamp phosphor powder bio-hydrometallurgical based recycling: It is possible an E-waste circular bioeconomy
The metallurgical industry has been looking for hydrometallurgical-based processes as an option in recent years because of some related inherent advantages, such as the ability to handle waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE or e-waste) with feasible waste management and lower energy consumption. E-waste contains economically significant levels of precious, critical metals and rare-earth elements (REE), apart from base metals and other toxic compounds. Recycling and recovery of critical elements from E-waste using a cost-effective technology are now one of the top priorities in metallurgy due to the rapid depletion of their natural resources.
This paper focuses on the perceptions of recovery of REE from waste fluorescent powder regarding a possible transition toward a bio-based economy. An overview of the worldwide production of E-waste and REE is also demonstrated to reinforce the arguments for the importance of E-waste as secondary sources of some critical metals. Based on the use of biosorption, we argue that the replacement of conventional steps used in E-waste recycling to recover metals of strategic and economic importance by bio-based technological processes can be possible. The bio-recycling of E-waste follows a typical sequence of industrial processes strongly used in classic hydrometallurgy with the addition of bio-hydrometallurgical processes such as bioleaching and biosorption. We use the case study of REE biosorption as a new technology based on biological principles to exemplify the potential of urban biomining. This perspective of transition between conventional hydrometallurgy for recovering metallic values for biohydrometallurgy helps to define which issues related to urban mining can influence the mineral bioeconomy, which helps to describe some future directions for sustainable recycling to achieve the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).