[Insert surprised Pikachu face]


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    Same for windmills I guess
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    Wind turbines are still mostly recyclable, since the tower and the hub / generator assembly are made primarily of steel, so just cut it up and melt it into something else. The blades on the other hand are a problem, but with proper UV-resistant paint those can last for ages and could potentially be reused on new / upgraded turbines.
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    Let me correct the title:
    Solar Panels - An eco disaster waiting to happen in the US?

    There is no such thing as low-grade glass. Glass is indefinitely recyclable, same as aluminum, copper, silicon and silver. What is not recyclable (in this context) are the rubber seals and the plastic. The only reason someone would say glass is low grade, is because all the other stuff is way more profitable.
    It's not an easy process, but it's all doable, and should lie in the responsibility of the companies who build them, similar how quite a sizeable part of the industry is handling other electronics nowadays.

    And as far as i'm aware, the EU is forcing recycling of solar panels since 2012 (WEEE Directive), and it is working quite okay in EU (in some countries even exceptionally well nowadays).

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    At least the waste is not dumped into the atmosphere. Much easier to handle.
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    @thebiochemic Great, so other e-waste in EU is also not a problem according to the very same directive. Oh wait, companies just ship it back to Asia where no such regulations apply. The amount that actually gets recycled is small, and even though photovoltaic modules do get recycled to some degree, the same doesn't apply to other parts that make the solar panels, like plastic covers that protect PV modules in the panels.
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    @hitko care to elaborate on that claim?

    Only thing i know, is that this is regulated in EU, and when it poses a problem, Companies will be fined. There are Recycling Plants specific for Solar Panels being built constantly in EU because shipping them back to Asia is not profitable enough. Yes these are Millions of Tons of old Solar Panels, but it's also Billions of € of Resources, where building a bunch of recycling plants is not a big deal at all.

    And yes, i mentioned the plastic.
    I will disregard your claim about other electronics, because it's not topic in either of the articles. However, i will add to that, and say e-waste of a good amount of electronic devices lands in india and china.

    But since there were no conclusive studies about that yet, neither you, nor me, nor anybody else can make a claim about if that's the case or not.

    So best course of action would be to ignore bogus claims and live on with your life.
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    @thebiochemic Did you even bother to check what WEEE directive is about or how it regulates the recycling of photovoltaic modules? WEEE directive, as stated, "requires the separate collection and proper treatment of WEEE and sets targets for their collection as well as for their recovery and recycling". Further, it requires that "Member States shall ensure that all separately collected WEEE undergoes proper treatment." and "Proper treatment, other than preparing for re-use, and recovery or recycling operations shall, as a minimum, include the removal of all fluids and a selective treatment in accordance with Annex VII." [Annex VII specifies removal of PCBs, lead, and other toxic materials, nothing which would apply to PV modules or solar panels in general]. After that, any e-waste is according to WEEE allowed to be exported as long as the company pinky-promises it will be recycled or reused in the destination country, a.k.a. gets a contractor outside of EU to handle the actual waste.
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    @hitko Basically the WEEE directive sets a really vague framework for e-waste which states that countries and companies making or selling electronic devices should provide collection of e-waste free of charge, that any hazardous materials and liquids shall be removed, and that the e-waste shall then be given to someone who promises to recycle or reuse at least a certain percentage of the e-waste in question. In practice, this means that various collection centres perform the minimal treatment required by the directive, and then just give it to some international e-waste handling company which delivers it to unregulated e-waste dumps in some third-world country on the premise that "at least the minimum amount required by EU shall get recycled or reused". But since the company responsible for the actual recycling is some unknown subcontractor in India, EU has absolutely no control over whether that actually happens or no.
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    @thebiochemic Also if you bothered to read the first thing about the WEEE directive, you'd know that it applies the same rules to all e-waste and there's nothing in it that would apply to solar panels or photovoltaic modules in particular.

    Which is why solar panels in EU get treated exactly the same as any other e-waste, and your deliberate disregard for that just shows your utter ignorance for the actual problem.
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    again. Yes WEEE Directive applies to all Electronics, are we talking about all Electronics? No, we're not.

    And since i can assume, that you read WEEE Directive, i can also assume, you know, that you can't just export toxic stuff. Since the panels themselves are considered Toxic (because of stuff like doping, or the soldering with tin+lead) they cannot be exported anyways. As you also mentioned, they need to be drained and cleaned of fluids such as anti freeze. And at this point it's cheaper to recycle them locally, because you would disassemble them one way or another.

    Did i read it? Not all of it, but some important Parts.
    You're right about the pinky promise thing, however it will not count towards recycling, if the facility, that is supposedly recycling them can't prove it. And even then, only if the stuff, they're recycling is nontoxic.

    To the last point. Yes, because of lack of hard facts and studies. So sure, go ahead, call me ignorant. However, that's also offtopic.
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    @thebiochemic WEEE doesn't have any special rules for solar panels. There are no special laws or regulations for waste solar panels in EU. Solar panels in EU are treated just like any other e-waste, for the most part even by the same waste management and collection companies, and it's been like that for over a decade. According to EU e-waste statistics for consumer equipment and photovoltaic panels, less than 50% of such e-waste gets collected, and only 85% of that ends up getting recycled. And since other consumer electronics is usually much more valuable and easy to recycle than PV modules, guess what makes a large part of the remaining 15%.
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    @hitko Sure, but wouldn't you argue, that's exactly what i said? They are treated the exact same way as other electronics (which is literally the reason why consumer electronics in EU needs to use lead free solder) and therefore need to obey the same rules?

    Since you're apparently not very good in listing references to your claims, let me go ahead and do that for my stuff:

    Literally the same Company, that is mentioned in your article (ROSI) has multiple Facilities "dedicated to recycling Solar Panels" in France

    Veolia was building a recycling plant for solar modules in 2017.

    Also, where did you get these Numbers from again? What is the source, i'm genuinely curious.
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    more examples

    Startup in italy built a concept recycling plant for EOL Solar Panels and is testing it.

    Fraunhofer in Germany has developed a solution with Reiling GmbH & Co. KG, that lets them recycle panels 100%.
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    Also, @hitko, please don't claim windmills were recyclable.
    Most of their wind facing thus energy gaining structure is composite fibre.
    Try to recycle this.
  • 2
    @scor this exactly. Recycling is expensive and maybe not their choice. I watched documentary about parks of broken windmills who were just left there to rot. Not used for recycling
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