Can you Recycle a PCB?

Recycle PCB

If you think about it, almost all electronic devices found out there have their components sitting in a nice looking Printed Circuit Board or PCB. No one sells a device with their electronics stuck on a breadboard and hold by electrical tape (or I hope not).

Since electronic devices are booming, PCBs are everywhere. Making sure their materials can be collected and reused instead of just throwing them into a landfill would potentially be a smart and environmentally sensible move if performed properly.

In this article, we will discuss the issue of PCB recycling, if it’s possible at all, how it is done and what can we do as electronics design engineers to create more recyclable PCBs. Note that with PCB we mean the PCB without any components.

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What is a Sustainable Electronic Product?

Leaf Circuit Board on Green Background

Do you know what a sustainable electronic product is? You probably already have an idea but not a well defined concept. But that’s OK, it turns out that it is not either a simple or well established definition in the electronics world. After all, as developers and designers our main focus, as we’ve been taught both at work and at university is to focus on the product specifications and characteristics itself, not how its components, performance, and end of life affects the environment and other people (unless you are actually designing a product with sustainability in mind from the beginning).

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