Reducing E-Waste: No Longer Mission Impossible?

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Researchers at the University of Illinois are developing electronics components that can destroy themselves when heated. They’ve also created a radio-controlled trigger to remotely initiate the reaction.

It sounds like a high-tech spy device right out of Mission Impossible, but the idea behind the research is to put a dent in the global electronic waste stream.

The team argues that making components that can be quickly degraded will let manufacturers recycle the materials from used equipment into new devices.

“We have demonstrated electronics that are there when you need them and gone when you don’t need them anymore,” said aerospace engineer and study leader Scott White. “This is a way of creating sustainability in the materials that are used in modern-day electronics.”

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