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Identification and Sorting of Printed Wiring Boards (PWB) Within an E-Waste Recycling Stream

Award Information
Agency: Environmental Protection Agency
Branch: N/A
Contract: EP-D-05-031
Agency Tracking Number: EP-D-05-031
Amount: $70,000.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: SBIR
Solicitation Topic Code: N/A
Solicitation Number: N/A
Solicitation Year: N/A
Award Year: 2005
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): N/A
Award End Date (Contract End Date): N/A
Small Business Information
566 Mainstream Dr., Nashville, TN, 37228
DUNS: 107070567
HUBZone Owned: N
Woman Owned: N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 Edward Sommer, Jr.
 (615) 734-6400
Business Contact
 Edward Sommer, Jr.
Title: President/CEO
Phone: (615) 734-6400
Research Institution
Electoronic waste (e-waste) is one of the most rapidly growing waste problems worldwide. Improper handling of e-waste results in vast amounts of toxic waste being sent to landfill and leaching into the water supply. Due to these concerns e-waste recycling is a rapidly growing industry. Unfortunately, most current e-waste recycling processes rely on either manual hand sorting or differental density sorting methods. Manual hand sorting is expensive in the U.S. and has been associated with major environmental damage overseas. Differential density sorting is expensive and is not very effective for sorting e-waste plastics by polymer type. Developing plastics sorting technologies are incompatible with differential density sorting technology. When properly sorted there are a significant amount of valuable recyclable materials in e-waste. Recycling rates for e-waste are currently low in part because e-waste recyclers charge a fee for recycling in order to make a profit. Legislative action in many states may increase this rate, but the long term viabilty of e-waste recycling depends upon economical approaches to recovering these valuable materials. The objective of this proposed Phase I research is to determine the feasibility for developing a high speed automated sorting system for sorting printed wiring boards (PWB) from e-waste plastics. This automated sorting system would allow recyclers of e-wastes to more efficiently process these PWBs and to obtian a pure plastics steam which could then be more efficiently sorted into pure polymer streams which can then be sold for a premium to plastics manufactures. A significant increase in the anticipated amount of e-waste has been observed over the last few years and is expectd to continue as the time between introduction and obsolescence becomes continually smaller. Because most electronic devices contain a significant number of plastic parts and PWBs, separation and recovery of these materials is crucial for the long-term viability of environmentally friendly recyclig of e-wastes. It is anticipated that upon the successful completion of Phase I and Phase II research that the application of the technology will improve the costs of recycling e-wastes, improving the rate at which e-wastes are recycled. The proposing firm is a major manufacturer of recycling equipment for the post-consumer plastics recycling industry and has recived considerable interest in the development of a sorting system for sorting printed wiring boad materials from e-waste plastics. Due to this interest the proposed technology is expected to have a strong market in the e-wate recycling industry.

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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