Material recycling of small-sized e-waste such as mobile phones etc is an emerging issue in Japan. However, in practical recycling process, the cost for recycling which heavily depends on the labor cost of manual disassembly is one of the largest problems. Outflows of e-waste to overseas often occur to avoid the high labor cost in developed countries. To reduce the recycling cost and to secure critical metals contained in the e-waste, remote recycling can be a good option. The authors have already proposed the concept of remote recycling in 2008. Recently, inspired by the start of the legislation to expand the target of recycling to small-sized EEE, we noticed that the concept is suitable for small-sized e-waste. Since it is difficult to consume much labor power for small products, physical separation methods (magnetic, pneumatic, electro-statical, etc) are being considered. But, those methods require large facilities and case-by-case adjustment of processes. Contrarily, the authors think human vision will be the most flexible and reliable method to separate valuable parts and non-valuable parts. This paper proposes a basic system of remote recycling based on tele-operation technologies, for small-sized e-waste and carries out feasibility studies of the system. Then, it discusses that concurrent designs of products, disassembly processes, tele-operation methods, social infrastructures and recycling processes are necessary to implement the system. Finally, it concludes that the remote recycling system is a promising concept that can satisfy low recycling cost, high quality and flexible separation of materials, and domestic preservation of critical metals in future.
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