Environmental Science and Pollution Research

, Volume 24, Issue 8, pp 6989–7008 | Cite as

Comparative assessment of metallurgical recovery of metals from electronic waste with special emphasis on bioleaching

  • Anshu Priya
  • Subrata HaitEmail author
Review Article


Waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) or electronic waste (e-waste) is one of the fastest growing waste streams in the urban environment worldwide. The core component of printed circuit board (PCB) in e-waste contains a complex array of metals in rich quantity, some of which are toxic to the environment and all of which are valuable resources. Therefore, the recycling of e-waste is an important aspect not only from the point of waste treatment but also from the recovery of metals for economic growth. Conventional approaches for recovery of metals from e-waste, viz. pyrometallurgical and hydrometallurgical techniques, are rapid and efficient, but cause secondary pollution and economically unviable. Limitations of the conventional techniques have led to a shift towards biometallurgical technique involving microbiological leaching of metals from e-waste in eco-friendly manner. However, optimization of certain biotic and abiotic factors such as microbial species, pH, temperature, nutrients, and aeration rate affect the bioleaching process and can lead to profitable recovery of metals from e-waste. The present review provides a comprehensive assessment on the metallurgical techniques for recovery of metals from e-waste with special emphasis on bioleaching process and the associated factors.


Electronic waste Metals Secondary source Pyrometallurgy Hydrometallurgy Biometallurgy 



Fellowship grant to Ms. Anshupriya from Department of Science and Technology, Government of India is sincerely acknowledged.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Civil and Environmental EngineeringIndian Institute of Technology PatnaBihta, PatnaIndia

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