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EFSOT Informe resumido

Project ID: G1RD-CT-2002-00838
Financiado con arreglo a: FP5-GROWTH
País: Germany

Impact of the Ban of Lead in the RoHS Directive on sustainable development

The result consists of a global assessment of the current and scenarios for future metal use for conventional and lead-free soldering in the electronics industry and an evaluation of the impacts on sustainable development. The term "sustainable development" was specified to toxic releases into the environment, energy consumption, metal resources, cost and a future resource consumption scenario for soldering. For the assessment of these impacts, new methodologies were created taking into account the particular requirements of sustainable development.

The results show that lead-free soldering reduces the toxic potential of WEEE and PWBs at the end of life stage. The increased energy consumption over the life cycle will require around one additional nuclear plant globally. The technological progress, in particular miniaturization and integration, which are reducing the soldering material consumption on the component level, cannot compensate the increasing demand of soldering materials due to the market growth in the electronics industry. A new efficiency approach shows that the use of bismuth increases the efficiency of mining, but decreases the eco-efficiency of soldering.

An in-depth study yielded detailed data about the performance of the recycling and smelting infrastructure in Europe. This knowledge facilitated calculating the additional consumption of metals in lead-free solders compared to conventional soldering. Besides for bismuthe, the fears that there might not be enough metal resources and supplies for lead-free soldering could be disproved. However, the trend to increasing use of soldering materials due to market growth remains an issue of concern in particular with respect to the currently increasing prices due to the economical uprise of Asian countries, especially China.

This situation needs further increases of the global collection and recycling rates of WEEE and further improvements in the recycling performance in particular for tin and other metals besides noble metals and platinum group metals, which already have very high recycling rates.

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Otmar DEUBZER, (project coordinator)
Tel.: +49-304-6403157
Fax: +49-304-6403131
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