As a responsible consultancy service, we always have recognized the need to collaborate with both manufacturers and customers concerning critical issues like minimizing pollution/waste during PCB production of new products. A good driver in our presentation is often the increasing proportion of public buyers prioritizing environmentally friendly brands. This makes it essential to raise awareness concerning this topic at all levels of our client’s business.
PCBs (printed Circuit Boards) are used in everyday goods we all use and contribute to environmental concerns due to the use of various metals and hazardous materials in its design and production.
The manufacturing process and the disposal of PCBs result in significant waste and potential pollution. Materials used in PCBs include fiberglass, resin epoxy, phenolic resin, and copper foil. The complexity of the circuitry determines the amount of material used, including alloys like copper, aluminum, and iron. So when PCB-containing products are discarded, many valuable alloys are wasted.
Waste is also generated during the manufacturing process through rinsing, leading to contaminated rinse water, waste chemicals, metals, and acidic air emissions. Of course PCB manufacturers must comply with the Restriction of Hazardous Substances Directive (RoHS), which restricts the use of hazardous substances like lead, mercury, and cadmium.
To further help reduce waste and pollution in PCB design and production, several key areas need to be focussed on:
Product Substitution, PCB designers, and manufacturers, need to explore more eco-friendly alternatives and sustainable packaging systems to reduce waste.
Replacement of hazardous materials by opting for non-polluting materials during PCB cleaning and surface preparation. The industry also needs to focus more on minimizing water pollution.
Reusing or recycling PCB materials, materials such as copper, tin, and lead-tin can be reused in new PCBs. Replacing copper hydroxide with copper oxide helps reduce any issues with respiratory and skin irritation issues.
Recovery and segregation of used materials. More recycling centres should focus on recovery resources from PCB waste, utilizing them as raw materials for other products, reducing reliance on new materials. Liaise with the brands, and designers on best approaches for reverse engineering.
We at TBS strive on collaborating with responsible Clients and PCB manufacturers who prioritize waste reduction and adhere to environmental regulations. Businesses who strive to minimize waste and pollution, and look at building a loyal customer base for their contribution to environmental preservation.
In conclusion, we all need to constantly evaluate our practices and focus on minimizing the use of metals and alloys, and avoiding toxic materials and reducing water usage.
Key Areas of Development:
- Product substitution with eco-friendly alternatives.
- Replacement of hazardous materials during PCB cleaning and preparation.
- Reusing and recycling PCB materials, reducing water usage and waste.
- Recovery and segregation of used materials for resource conservation.
- Collaborating with responsible PCB manufacturers adhering to environmental regulations.
- Customers selecting environmentally conscious PCB manufactured brands.