Electronic waste is a huge environmental problem that is only getting worse as we rely more and more on our gadgets. For as many electronic devices as we use every year, however, there isn’t much of the circuit boards that can be salvaged and recycled for use in other gadgets. The National Physical Laboratory has developed a circuit board that falls apart in hot water, effectively making the components reusable.
The reusable boards can be used for traditional rigid electronics as well as flexible gadgets and 3D objects. The components hold tight until the time that the gadget is ready to be recycled and the board is stuck into a bowl of water. After the polymer layers dissolve, the components can easily be scraped right off of the board. In this way, around 90 percent of components can be salvaged and reused. Regular circuit boards, by comparison, only incorporate about two percent recyclable components.