E-waste workers in Agbogbloshie determine material type based on experience: years of dismantling and disassembly, visual examination and use of magnets to identify ferrous metals. However, in order to improve recycling practices — including protecting workers from hazardous materials — more advanced methods are required for identifying 3E-materials (i.e. materials present in Electrical and Electronic Equipment).
For the past few months, AMP team has been researching one technology that can help — spectroscopy, which detects the wavelengths of light unique to each material. First, we built a paper spectroscope that enables us see various spectra of light. Other DIY projects we have tried include foldable mini-spectrometer, and cd spectrometer. We used the spectral workbench software to analyze some spectra of light from different sources we recorded. Some of the sources were white florescent, blue light and candle light.
The goal of this research is to build a spectroscope that enables us to analyze the elemental composition of scrap materials in Agbogbloshie. A promising technique for identifying chemical elemental composition of a sample is called Laser Induced Breakdown Spectroscopy (LIBS). Another DIY project of interest to this research is the ramanpi spectrometer which is based on raman spectroscopy. These and other techniques will be explored to achieve the goals of our research.