Recycling & Waste

The Complete E-Waste Recycling Process – Facts And Figures

e-waste recycling

The huge magnitude of e-waste that has been accumulated over the past few years is shocking. It is shocking how we let it come this far. The amount of discarded technology is also rising rapidly with the evolving technology.  

Old technology like VHS tapes, HDs, CDs, and even SSDs are all regarded as old technology and are thrown away as e-waste. Also, the availability of technology is becoming more and more global. E-waste generation is also becoming global. 

We are in a dangerous need of e-waste recycling, or it is going to be dangerous for the environment and for us. 

Before we know what dangers are associated with recycling e-waste, we should learn what is waste first. 

What Is E-Waste Recycling?

What Is E-Waste Recycling

E-waste is electronic products that are regarded as useless or unwanted. They are either not working at all or near the end of their utility. These are laptops, computers, televisions, stereos, fax machines, or any other types of mechanics. 

The ongoing battle of how to dispose of e-waste properly is something that dates back to the 1970s. Since then, the techniques of disposal have definitely changed over the years, but it is not enough. 

Now that it’s been going on for years, there is a proper term for these kinds of waste. After a lot of name changes which included “Digital rubbish” unanimously, it stuck with “e-waste.”

List Of Common E-Waste Items

Home AppliancesCommunicationEntertainmentUtilitiesOffice
MicrowavesCell PhonesDVDsRemotesPrinters
ToastersDesktop ComputerBlu Ray PlayersHeating Pads IT Servers
HeatersLaptopsStereosFitbit’sAudio Equipment
CookersHard DrivesFax MachinesElectrical CordsWiFi Dongle
FansCircuit BoardsGame SystemLampsCables

Why E-Waste Recycling Is Important?

Why E-Waste Recycling Is Important

It has become critical to recycle e-waste, as it is becoming a hazard to the environment. There are lot more reasons why electronic waste recycling and electronic waste recyclers should be given the utmost importance. 

  1. It is vital to keep this electronic waste away from all landfills. They might contain toxic chemicals or metals that can contaminate the soil or even any nearby waterbody.
  1. Often, e-waste contains valuable metals such as gold, silver, and platinum. And also copper, aluminum, plastic, and even glass. You also can reclaim these metals for some other purposes.
  1. If we recycle the valuable materials from the recycling process, there will be less demand for the newer raw materials. This helps to conserve natural resources. 
  1. Using recycled materials also reduce greenhouse gas emissions, which are produced while processing new raw materials or “virgin material.”
  1. Discarded electronic devices can also be utilized if they are refurbished and donated to a worthy cause. 

Problems With Not Recycling E-Waste

Problems With Not Recycling E-Waste

If you dispose of electronic waste improperly, they are sent to landfills or incinerators. Here they will release toxic chemicals that will mix in the soil, air, or to a water body nearby. 

Some of the chemicals that are released through mismanaged electronics are,

  • Barium
  • Lead
  • Phosphorous
  • Beryllium
  • Mercury
  • Cardium
  • Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons
  • Brominated Dioxins.

Those heavy metals and toxic materials such as cadmium and mercury are hazardous to the environment and, in turn, damage the ecosystem. They make their way up the food chain and often have a direct effect on the health of human beings.

What Dangers Are Associated With Recycling E-Waste? 

What Dangers Are Associated With Recycling E-Waste

Improper recycling of e-waste affects nearly every part of the human body. They are all manufactured with toxic metals like mercury, lead, lithium, barium, etc. Even plastic‘s main components are also polyvinyl chloride. 

They can adversely affect the human body, such as congenital disabilities and other severe health disorders. And damage to the brain, kidney, heart, liver, and even the skeletal system. They also harm the nervous system and the reproductive system adversely. 

E-Waste Recycling Process Flowchart

E-Waste Recycling Process Flowchart

Step One- Collection

Firstly, this recycling process is to collect all the e-waste from all the recycle bins, throughout the whole area. If you don’t know where they are, just type on Google “e-waste recycling near me.”

These can recycle bins, collecting on location, on-demand collecting service, take-back programs, and e-waste drop-off. 

The best process is to separate thee-waste by its type in this stage. This is why many places have different recycle bins for different electronic items. It is crucial for electronics containing batteries that require special care while handling or can be damaged if mixed with others. 

Step Two- Storage

Though this step might not look important but is very crucial. In the past, the glass screen from CRT computers and TVs. Which are contaminated with lead and were used to make new computers.

But due to the rapid increase of modern technologies, CRT products have steadily declined. Hence they require proper storage, probably forever. 

Step Three- Manual Sorting, Dismantling, Shredding

The next step for e-waste recycling is to go through manual sorting. Here things like batteries or bulbs are typically removed for separate processing. In this stage, some items are dismantled for their components. Then they are either reused or the valuable thing that you can recover. 

The Electronic-waste is shredded into pieces, to sort materials more accurately. This is a prominent part of the sorting process. In most electronics, a mixture of different materials breaks into millions of pieces. The professional processor separates these through mechanical separation. 

Step Four- Mechanical Separation

This mechanical separation involves several processes. The main two processes are water separation and magnetic separation. 

Magnetic Separation

Most of the tiny pieces of e-waste are passed through a giant magnetic, separating the ferrous metal from the nonferrous substance, like iron, or steel. An eddy is currently also using it to separate the nonferrous metal.

Water Separation

Solid waste like plastics and glass are separated using water. It purifies the separation process further efficiently by hand. 

Step Five- Recovery:

Now that the materials are in a different position, they are also ready for reuse and sale. Few substances such as plastics, steel, and glass join another recycling process. 
While the others are processed here on-site and going for the deal with functional components that were previously separate.

Frequently Asked Questions!

1. Can We Re-Use E-Waste? 

Ans: Most e-waste contains valuable substances, including toxic substances. They can be separated safely to only recover the metals and any other materials for reuse purposes.

2. What Is The Best Method For E-Waste Recycling?

Ans: A few of the best methods of e-waste recycling are 
👉 Give old electronics to e-waste drop-off points.
👉 Visit civic centers.
👉 Donate old technology.

3. Why Is E-Waste Valuable? 

Ans: The ability to salvage materials from e-waste limits the need for mining. And this in turn helps conserve the natural resources.

Let’s Recover What We Learned!

Like any other reusable and recyclable objects, electronic waste should also be a part of it. E-waste recycling is not only good for the environment but also for human health. 

Hence, if you have old technology lying around, do the right thing and take it to your nearest e-waste recycling.

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