Recovery of precious metals from electronic waste and spent catalysts: A review
Precious metals are widely applied in many industry fields due to their excellent corrosion resistance, good electrical conductivity and high catalytic activity. However, the reserves of precious metals falls short of the production globally. The rapid generation of end-of-life products has become the significant resources of precious metals. Among these products, electronic waste (e-waste) and spent catalysts are more concentrated since they account for over 90% of precious metals in industry. This article provides an overview of various technologies on the recovery of precious metals from e-waste and spent catalysts. It shows that recycling technologies have been significantly improved in recent years. The recycling processes have transferred from leaching by aqua regia, cyanide and chlorine in acid solution to less pollution agents leaching. Environment-oriented technologies have been raised great attention in precious metals recycling. The advantages and environmental impacts of these recycling technologies have been discussed in detail. However, there are still some challenges for future promotion. In order to achieve the environment-friendly and sustainable recycling for precious metals with high recovery rate, several considerations have been proposed.