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In Taiwan there is a special tree frog special called the Taipei Tree Frog which is mainly distributed in the Taipei basin region. Furthermore, in 2004 destruction of mountain slopes caused by highway construction led to the destruction of Taipei Tree Frog habitats and their numbers shrank close to the point of extinction.
Fortunately, Taipei Rapid Transit Corporation (TRTC) collaborated with environmentalists and spent eight years and a total of more than NT$10 million to carry out rehabilitation at Xiangshan Station to enable the rejuvenation of the Taipei Tree Frog population.
Unfortunately there are just a few lucky examples like this one. It is regrettable that human economic activities have negative impacts on ecology, and they are continual and comprehensive. One fortunate thing is that it is not too late for humans to make some changes.
E-Waste Recycling is the First Step of Change
UWin Nanotech Co., Ltd. is the first Taiwanese environmentally-friendly precious metals recycling technology company. They use an environmentally-friendly prescription which can rapidly strip valuable precious metals from waste boards and recycle them. Furthermore, the process does not involve incineration or toxic materials that contain cyanide, and it is environmentally safe and economically beneficial.
Utilizing UWin Nanotech's environmentally-friendly recycling technology to obtain recycled silver, the company manufactures E-Frog sculpture artworks which are used to remind people the importance of protecting natural ecology.
Unlike regular silver artworks, UWin Nanotech's E-Frogs are manufactured using recycled silver which are recycled from E-Waste.
Kenny Hsu, Managing Director of Uwin Nanotech, stated that manufacturing E-Frogs is an important concept, and hopefully it will inspire people to view e-waste as an important issue. The amount of e-waste can be reduced through recycling; in addition, their process and method of handling e-waste also upholds the principle of environmental protection.
According to statistics from the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), approximately ten to fifty million tons of e-waste are discarded each year globally, and only 12.5% of e-waste is recycled and reused. However, the most regrettable thing is that e-waste also contains heavy metals and toxic materials. If they are improperly disposed of and buried, they are severely dangerous to the earth and water resources.
However, if looked at from an economic perspective, e-waste should not actually be garbage because e-waste contains numerous precious metals, such as gold, silver, palladium, copper, and tin. Consequently, if it can be recycled and reused, e-waste will be extremely beneficial to economic development, and this is the general concept of “urban mining.”
Environmentally-Friendly Recycling Technology is a Necessary Method
Nevertheless, the method and procedure for handling e-waste must not be destructive to the environment. It has to be an environmentally-friendly solution; otherwise, it will cause double damage to the environment. This is particularly true of traditional incineration methods utilized in the recycling of precious metals, which not only produce large amounts of greenhouse gases but also consume large volumes of energy, directly or indirectly increasing the amount of carbon emissions.
On the other hand, chemicals containing cyanide are typically used to carry out purification to obtain valuable refined metal alloy bricks from precious metals recycling. However, this kind of method is highly hazardous, and whenever the treatment is done improperly it poses enormous risks to people and to the environment.
Therefore, utilizing environmentally-friendly recycling technologies to handle e-waste is a necessary tactic. On one hand, it transforms e-waste into a valuable resource, and on the other hand, it eliminates secondary damage to the environment. More importantly, it reduces the consumption of the earth's resources.
UWin Nanotech has already developed an environmentally-friendly “wet-process” precious metals recycling technology which utilizes a soaking method to strip away precious metals. It is more highly effective than traditional incineration methods while also not requiring the consumption of large amounts of fuel and producing carbon emissions. More importantly, the soaking solution is safe and non-toxic and it is not harmful to human health or the environment.
Preserving Ecological Balance is the Ultimate Objective
According to a report in the journal “Science Development,” the current rate of extinction for species on earth is 114 times greater than it was in the past. If the present-day trend of global warming continues, within 50 years, one-fourth of species will go extinct globally and 75% of species will face extinction after three generations.
In addition to global warming, habitat destruction is another cause of global ecological imbalance. Currently, 82% of endangered birds are facing the crisis of extinction due to habitat destruction.
Reducing carbon emissions and avoiding resource extraction are two key methods of rescuing jeopardized ecosystems around the globe, and utilizing environmentally-friendly recycling technologies to handle e-waste is a way of achieving this important goal.
The use of environmentally-friendly technologies to handle e-waste not only avoids the problem of greenhouse gases produced through the use of incineration methods, but also simultaneously dramatically cuts the amount of carbon emissions produced through the overall process of e-waste recycling. This also has the beneficial effect of reducing the greenhouse effect and avoiding global warming.
The use of environmentally-friendly recycling technology to extract valuable precious metals from e-waste also has the capacity to reduce or even avoid the continued exploitation of underground resources by human beings. It can also lead to the maintenance, rather than the destruction, of plant and animal habitats and enable the earth's ecology to continue to flourish.
A Circular Economy is a Key Link
Making the global ecosystem sustainable is extremely important to the maintenance of economic growth for humanity. On December 2, 2014, the European Commission took the lead in this endeavor by passing the Circular Economy Package, which shifts the EU economy towards a low resource consumption and environmental protection model. This package includes legislative advice on waste treatment, with the long-term goals of reducing burial of waste while increasing reusing and recycling.
At the same time, in order to increase product life-cycles, the scope of the European Commission's Circular Economy Package includes a plan of action which will enable industries to have value chains at each stage and bring the economy into a circular operation process. This will present clear operation procedures from product manufacturing to consumption, maintenance and manufacturing, and finally to waste management and renewable use of raw materials.
Waste management and raw material regeneration is also a key element in this plan of action. However, the environmental protection link has yet to be fully implemented, and it is the bridge to recirculating the chains of materials. This is precisely where UWin Nanotech's technologies can come into play for these types of industries.
Kenny said that the purpose of developing environmental protection is to develop the economy. A number of people hold the mistaken belief that that the two endeavors are in conflict with one another when they are actually complementary, and this is the core reasoning behind the circular economy. Through the use of environmentally-friendly procedures and technologies, valuable materials can be recirculated. This not only cuts production costs for companies, but also reduces strain on the natural ecology.
“The E-Frog actually represents four facets, which are E-Waste, Eco-Friendliness, Ecology, and Economy,” said Kenny.
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