Electronic waste inspired enterprising individuals to make money out of trash. They get old, unwanted end-of-life electronics, take out the useful components, and sell them as raw materials. Heres the step-by-step process they undertake to make something useful out of someone else’s garbage:
1. Manual Sorting
The collection of electronic wastes are sorted manually. Batteries are separated from their units and undergo a different recycling process. Appliances with non-solid substances are marked for special handling. Televisions, monitors, and other display devices are also separated from the rest.
2. Removal of Non-solid Substances
Some electronics contain liquids or gasses to carry out their functions. Refrigerators, air-conditioners, and freezers use liquid coolants to control the temperature. These liquid coolants are manually removed before these electronic appliances are recycled.
These substances are disposed through specific methods as required by the government. Proper care and disposal is required since some liquid coolants can explode or harm the environment if not handled properly.
3. Removing Specialist Glass
Televisions and LCD monitor units use tubes that require special handling. These are removed and set aside for processing, in which they are eventually made into cathode ray glass or LCD glass.
4. Manual Disassembly
The electronic wastes are then taken apart manually. The parts are sorted according to core materials and components. Recyclable parts are sent to the next step of the recycling process. The non-recyclable ones are sent for proper disposal.
5. Two Phases of Reduction Process
The recyclable items from the previous step are shredded into two-inch pieces. These are passed on to a conveyor that spreads out the debris along the belt. The second phase shreds this debris into finer pieces, which are afterwards passed on for material sorting.
6. Sorting the Shredded Debris
The conveyor belt carries the debris under a series of sensors and magnets. These would separate any ferrous or steel metals from the rest of the debris. The magnets would pull these items to a separate conveyor belt for recycling into steel or iron.
This phase of the recycling process also employs air suction and vacuums to remove lightweight debris. Lightweight debris are often dirt, plant materials, and other biodegradable materials that can easily be disposed of and have no place in the next stages of recycling.
7. Separation of the Remaining Metallic Debris
The first set of magnets are only able to pull out metals with steel or iron from the shredded debris. The remaining metallic and non-metallic debris would pass through a different set of magnets made of a rare earth metal.
This rare-earth magnet would be able to separate aluminum, nickel, tin, lead, zinc, silver, and gold from the non-metallic debris. The metal debris are then placed on an eddy current separator to separate aluminum from the rest of the metals.
8. Water Separation
The non-metallic debris goes through water separation. The water would separate glass and plastic debris from each other. These are then recycled and sold for reuse.
9. Sorting the Different Metals
Blowers separate aluminum from the rest of the metals. Cameras and blowers sort the remaining metals according to their color. These are smelted, and purified through electrolysis. The melted metals are then cooled and solidified into bars. These bars would then be sold for making new products.
By opting to e-recycle broken down or outdated electronics, you’ll be sure that all possible components would be reused once again. This way, waste is kept to a minimum, as well as the cost of manufacturing the next generation of gadgets and devices.