Project8 Practical development of a recycling system for strategic urban mines
Urban mines, which contain small home appliances and other discarded electronic and electrical devices that may be recycled for their metals, are mostly undeveloped or buried under the ground. Therefore, efforts are being made to lead the world in integrating the development of revolutionary recycling technologies with educating the public about their potential, the environment, etc., to help ensure a stable supply of various necessary metals for manufacturing, promote the development of recycling industries, and materialize a recycling society that is based on the concept of strategic urban mines.
Development of revolutionary recycling technologies
New technologies and techniques for economically and effectively recovering rare metals and other useful metals from discarded appliances include
① the development of equipment and systems for automatically disassembling home appliances, etc., and sorting substrates, work which has hitherto been done by hand
②the development of systems for sorting useful metals, etc., into single materials that can be easily recycled.
Educating the public to help materialize a recycling society
Efforts are being made to enlighten the public and provide environmental education in order to effectively promote Act on Promotion of Recycling of Small Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment.
- Associating with the SURE Consortium including manufacturers, resource industries, etc., and examining social systems based on the concept of strategic urban mines.
- Meeting places, research groups, etc., are being established in municipalities to investigate ways to improve the recovery rate from discarded products, and public relations campaigns are being undertaken to educate the public.
Development of preprocessing systems
Development of systems for automatically disassembling and sorting discarded products
Equipment and systems are being developed for safely disassembling discarded products such as home appliances, etc., down to parts units without destroying their shape, work which has hitherto been done by hand.
- Development of products which can be crushed while maintaining the shape of such things as secondary batteries, and crushing machines for disassembly.
- Development of systems for automatically sorting secondary batteries, etc., after disassembly by creating and utilizing databases.
Development of systems for high-grade sorting
Development of systems for sorting useful metals, etc., into single materials that can be easily recycled
- Development of systems that can remove metals from mixed plastic-metal materials and sorting according to the way the plastic is used
- Development of a “ne-particle sorting system” that can sort substrates, mixed metals, and other composite materials into single materials
Outlooks, economic effects, etc.
- Economic effect of about 5.2 billion yen: Expectations for about 4 plants to be built in Japan
- Market scale of about 18 billion yen: Estimated from the recovery target of 140,000 tons based on Act on Promotion of Recycling of Small Waste Electrical and
Electronic Equipment (about 20% of the total annual amount produced in Japan)
Overview of activities
[Results obtained so far]
- Establishment of the SURE (Strategic Urban Mining Research Base) at AIST (FY 2013)
- Establishment of the SURE Consortium at AIST (FY 2014)
- Development of systems for automatically disassembling and sorting discarded products and systems for high-grade sorting
- Educating the public to help materialize a recycling society