Right now, most school budgets are depleted for the 2015-2016 class year. My book, Chemistry on a Budget, contains inexpensive chemistry labs that could be useful. You can buy this lab book for $23 at amazon.com or lulu.com. Check it out!
There are two versions of each lab, one with a ten-question conclusion and one with directions for a full lab report. This way the teacher has the option! Each lab is two pages to allow for one two-sided handout.
It will take a week or so to get to you, so Order Now!
*Some of you have purchased my lab book – be sure to check out Page 141 !
On January 28, 2016, a paper was published by researchers at the University of Saskatchewan titled “Turning electronic waste into gold“ .
“The biggest issue with gold [in electronics] is it is one of the least reactive chemical elements, making it difficult to dissolve … recycling gold from electronic scraps like computer chips and circuits involves processes that are costly and have environmental implications.”
This article caught my attention, but upon further investigation there were many issues that warranted discussion, and some healthy skepticism.
I was not able to find the original article with the specific chemical process.
The concerns about computer waste and what can be recycled are an interesting topic for Extra Credit research.
According to this 2010 article, “Around 40 million tons of e-waste are produced each year, with much of it unaccounted for, according to findings by Solving The E-waste Problem (Steps), a UN [United Nations]-initiative supported by many major electronics companies.
While often dumping grounds for e-waste exported from the EU [European Union] and the U.S., countries such as China and India also will have to deal with a huge growth in home-produced e-waste fueled by a boom in sales of electronics. “
“Cell phones, tablets, laptops, and other electronic devices are sold by the billions, but when today’s electronics break, become obsolete, or just go out of fashion, most consumers send them to the dump. …
The toxicity of e-waste is one of the biggest concerns. Hazardous chemicals associated with electronics include polyvinyl chlorides, mercury, cadmium, chromium, and lead, just to name a few. And when e-waste byproducts leach into ground water, are burned, or get mishandled during recycling, bad things can happen. Health problems associated with such toxins include impaired mental development, cancer, and damage to the lungs, liver, and kidneys.”
(BTW, this article can be downloaded in PDF format if desired.)
As reported in this 2008 Audubonmagazine.org article:
“While some of this detritus languishes in attics and basements, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that each year about two million tons of it [computer waste] are dumped and left to fall apart and leak their toxic innards across the landscape. Discarded electronics comprise 70 percent of heavy metal contamination in the nation’s landfills, a horrifying thought for anyone who worries about public health. “
According to a 2015 article titled “India's mounting e-waste woes” : “What's most worrying is that whatever e-waste is collected is still being done so in an informal and unorganized way, posing a serious health risk to the workers involved in the trade. ... [I]n a place called Seelampur, children work with their hands, handling acid baths and toxic metals such as cadmium and mercury in order to extract gold and copper from the circuit boards of discarded electronic items. This is the infinitely less-sexy underbelly of India's glittering IT story.”
“There’s a lot of value, and health and environmental threats, being left behind in e-waste. Experts estimate that a mere 10 to 15 percent of the gold in e-waste is being recovered. And it turns out that most of what is being recovered and recycled is taking place in poorer, less developed countries in what’s grown to be an ‘informal’ global network of e-waste importing nations.”
United States citizens purchase new electronics every few years. Here is an article that discusses the waste issue and provides recommendations for proper treatment:
“Every time you replace one of your electronic devices, it’s your responsibility to be sure your old one gets recycled properly.”
This topic of Electronic Waste is current and personal to most of your students. Also, it could spark the imagination of the student who researches waste management and/or develops a new, effective process.
*Remember, this Blog contains several entries that would be helpful to your chemistry classroom. Remember, you can check out the Topic List to help you to find past Blog entries.
Also, Write To Me about your successes, challenges, or questions in the Chemistry Classroom.
Remember, buying a copy of the lab book Chemistry on a Budget can be very useful to your Chemistry classroom with labs and class article ideas.
Enjoy your weekend!