The 7-Step Recycling E-waste Process
Say no to e-waste. Say yes to recycling e-waste!
An old laptop here, a broken cellphone there, everywhere you look, you are surrounded by e-waste. The rapid rate at which the production of e-waste has been increasing in the past few years has resulted in a sudden rise in e-waste management-related awareness.
There are three important words to remember regarding e-waste management, “Reduce-Reuse-Recycle.” You can reduce and reuse e-waste easily, but recycling e-waste is tricky and requires professional guidance most of the time. For this purpose, today’s blog will talk about recycling e-waste.
Let us first start by understanding what exactly recycling e-waste is. Recycling e-waste refers to reusing and reprocessing electrical and electronic equipment that has been discarded or is considered obsolete.
Recycling e-waste has become a growing trend and was introduced to protect human and environmental health mainly due to the widespread environmental pollution impacts of e-waste.
Now that we have a brief idea about recycling e-waste, the next thing that is most likely to come up is what we can recycle from our e-waste.
One of the most commonly used materials in electronic appliances is plastic. Once your appliance is disposed of, it may be retrieved and sent for recycling. The recyclers can then use plastic materials to manufacture items like plastic sleepers, vineyard stakes, fence posts, plastic trays, insulators, equipment holders, etc.
Metals can also be retrieved and recycled to produce new steel products and metals.
Massive amounts of glass are retrieved from CRTs (Cathode Ray Tubes) of computer monitors and televisions. But CRTS contains several hazardous substances, such as lead, which is dangerous to human health and the immediate environment. Thus, carefully collecting them through the process of e-waste recycling helps prevent environmental contamination.
Devices containing mercury must only be sent to recycling facilities with specialized technology to eliminate mercury. The end product of this elimination includes dental amalgams, metric instruments, and fluorescent lighting.
Circuit boards are sent to accredited and specialized companies for smelting and recovering resources like tin, palladium, copper, silver, and other valuable metals.
The aluminum ingots recovered from hard disks are very useful for the automobile industry on shredding and processing by trained professionals.
Toner and Ink Cartridges
Toners and ink cartridges are taken for recycling by recyclers in various manufacturing industries that remanufacture them. They then use the plastic and metals retrieved as raw materials to manufacture other products.
Specialist recyclers take batteries to recover cadmium, steel, nickel, and cobalt for reusing them in new batteries. They are also helpful in fabricating stainless steel.
The Step-By-Step of Recycling E-waste
Now let us briefly understand the process of recycling e-waste.
1. Collecting E-waste
The collection of e-waste is the first stage of recycling e-waste. Here, recyclers collect e-waste by placing take-back booths or collection bins in specific places. Once these bins are filled, the recyclers transport them to e-waste recycling facilities and plants.
2. Shredding and Sorting
Once collecting and transporting are done, the next step is to shred and sort the e-waste. It is crucial for the shredding to be done efficiently as the separation’s success lies in how well the e-waste has been shredded.
It is typically labor-intensive as waste items are, at this stage, separated to retrieve different parts.
After shredding, shredded materials are sorted into core materials and components. Further, these items get categorized into various categories. Typically, these categories include items that you can reuse and those that require different recycling processes.
3. Dust Extraction
In this step of recycling e-waste, the tiny waste particles get smoothly spread on the conveyor belt via a shaking process. The smoothly spread e-waste pieces then get broken down even further. At this point, the dust gets extracted and discarded in an environmentally compliant manner to ensure there is no environmental degradation.
4. Magnetic Separation
In this step of recycling e-waste, a strong overhead magnet helps you separate steel and iron from other wastes. Thus, allowing you to recycle the steel from the waste stream successfully.
Some other mechanical processes may be required at times to separate circuit board, copper, and aluminum from other waste particles. Especially where they are mostly plastic.
5. Water Separation
Once steel and iron particles are removed, the next step in e-waste recycling is separating glass from plastic, usually done using the water separation technique.
6. Purification of Waste Stream
The next thing is locating and extracting leftover metals from plastics to purify the waste stream further.
7. Preparing Recycled Materials for Sale
The final step in recycling e-waste is preparing recycled materials for sale. Here, the materials separated during SSS get ready for sale as raw materials to produce new electronics.
Benefits of Recycling E-waste
Now that we know what recycling e-waste is and the different parts that can be recycled, let us briefly discuss the various benefits of recycling e-waste.
Promotes Sustainable Development
When you recycle your old electronic devices, many precious metals, plastic, and glass are recovered, which can be used as raw materials for manufacturing new electronic devices. This helps you manage e-waste and helps reduce the exploitation of the Earth’s existing resources for raw materials. Thus, promoting sustainable development.
Prevents Environmental Degradation
When you dump your e-waste, several toxic substances like mercury, sulfur, etc., are contained in them, contaminating the dumping sites.
But, when you choose to recycle your e-waste, all these toxic chemicals are carefully recovered and disposed of responsibly to avoid environmental degradation.
We all know that people worldwide are facing a job crisis, leaving many unemployed and forcing others to work for way less.
E-waste recycling provides excellent employment opportunities. From minimal education requirements for e-waste collectors and dismantlers to highly educated engineers and quality inspectors, it caters to people with diverse qualifications.
Recycling e-waste is the need of the hour, taking into consideration the immense e-waste generated on a daily basis. However, just as important is the safe & proper methods to be followed for recycling e-waste. So the best recourse is to approach professional guidance, such as certified e-waste management companies like GreenTek Reman.
GreenTek Reman is the first R2v3 Certified IT Asset Disposition & e-waste Management company in APAC. It has nearly a decade of experience in the Reuse, Recycling, and Recovery of precious resources from electronic waste. Due to its extensive industry experience, GreenTek Reman is known for its credibility in e-waste management and ITAD (IT Asset Disposition) services.
We provide PAN India services such as Data Sanitization, Solar Panel Recycling (SPR), IT Asset Disposition (ITAD), Precious Metal Recovery (PMR), and Product & Equipment Destruction (PED). Certified with the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), State Pollution Control Board (SPCB), and the Ministry of Environment Forests (MoEF), Government of India, we are one of the most trusted organizations in the country.