In the digital age, electronic and electrical waste is the fastest growing type of waste in the world. This problem was the inspiration behind an ingenious design from Royal College of the Arts graduate Hal Watts on display at Show RCA 2012 that runs through the end of the month.
The problem with this waste, said the designer, is that many countries illegally export their electronic waste to Africa, where many people are economically dependent on informal recycling. The UK exports 70% of its electric and electronic waste, most of it to the west coast of Africa. In Ghana alone, approximately 40,000 people depend on the recycling of this waste for its copper to be resold.
From there, the mix goes into a metal separator, that uses water to remove the plastic and leads to a yield of 98% pure copper, which can be sold more 20% more than copper that has been burnt. And this way, the plastic particles can be used as an alternate source of income.