TSMC endeavors to be an practitioner of the green power and positively put the “cradle to cradle” circular economy into practice. We built in-house recycling systems to remake the waste copper sulfate into regenerated copper tubes. Furthermore, we cooperated with the raw material suppliers to develop smelting processes for purification of copper tubes. With great effort, semiconductor-grade copper anodes made of the copper tubes were feasible for TSMC’s manufacturing processes. The recycle of high-value semiconductor-grade copper materials has been successfully established.
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TSMC is committed to environmental sustainability. Striving to be a world-class company in environmental protection, TSMC changed waste management from a linear economy to a circular economy. Besides, wasted resources produced by the semiconductor industry will greatly exceed industrial demand in a few years. To overcome the dilemma of interdependence between different industries, continual use of resources with zero waste within the semiconductor industry has been set as a sustainable development goal of TSMC.
Wasted Copper Sulfate Recycling Systems – to Turn Waste into High-value Products
TSMC worked with vendors to develop the in-house recycling system for waste copper sulfate treatment. Copper ions were efficiently converted into metallic copper through the closed tube electrolysis equipment. Furthermore, the purity of regenerated copper tubes has been extremely enhanced by the optimization of chemical usage. Based on the successful experience, the recycling systems have been intensively implemented and continuously operated at each of TSMC’s plant. With the in-house recycling facilities, the amount of waste intended to be outsourced and risks of outsourcing vendors not handling properly can be reduced.
Green Innovation Model – in Collaboration With Raw Material Suppliers
TSMC sold the regenerated copper tubes to raw material suppliers to replace electronic raw materials with recycled materials. To achieve the vision of the circular economy, smelting processes was developed by TSMC and suppliers to make the regenerated copper tubes into semiconductor-grade copper anodes. Since the end of 2017, the copper anodes have been reused in TSMC’s manufacturing processes. Taking a step further, TSMC continues to promote the upcycling semiconductor’s waste back to their original industry. Not only does this green innovative innovation in circular sourcing of copper reduce raw materials used, but also significantly increases products value.
- Over 10,000 metric tons of waste copper sulfate intended to outsource was reduced per year and 150 metric tons of copper tube was produced. The overall economic benefit reached over NT$9,000 million per year.