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Matthew Gozun

Purdue University, MS
DCA Scholar 2021

US Household Management of Electronic WasteProject Description:
Gozun’s research seeks to understand the yearly trend and number of electronic devices that are stored in United States households, meaning devices that are no longer being used, but still kept by the user. Secondly, by applying closed economy principles, the extent of economic potential and environmental impact can be determined through recycling of these stored devices.

The research group is currently conducting a public survey to determine how US households store, dispose of and recycle their electronics. This data will be used to create a stock and flow model to determine how storage of electronic devices changes over time as devices move from user to user and eventually disposal. Additionally, an experimental analysis on Samsung phone models from the past decade will be conducted to determine the evolving metallic makeup of smart phones. As their technical systems become more complex, tracking the rate at which precious metals are being used to create higher functioning devices, compiled with current recycling and storage trends from the survey and model, will dictate the economic and environmental benefits of a closed loop economy model in the US.

Gozun is a MS student in Environmental and Ecological Engineering at Purdue University (2020-present). He earned his B.S. in Chemical Engineering with a concentration in Energy and the Environment there as well (2014–2019). Between undergraduate and graduate school, he spent time teaching before and after school science classes for Purdue’s Early Care and Education Center as an Assistant Teacher. Currently, his research focuses on modeling the current trend and amount of stored, disposed and recycled household consumer electronics in the United States. He hopes his research demonstrates the significance of properly disposing of electronics, and starts conversations between companies, communities and government about how they handle e-waste and its growing importance as a resource instead of as a waste going forward.