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illuminating the e waste problem in 2021

Illuminating the E-Waste Recycling Process: How It Works

In the United States, e-waste is becoming a massive problem. Around 70% of the hazardous material in our landfills is from old circuitry. Computer parts, consoles, and phones all sit around in our landfills, leaking chemicals and raising many health concerns.

We need to take accountability. Many businesses are doing their part and staying compliant by using e-waste recycling services.

What goes on in the e-waste recycling process, and how can you take part? Learn everything you need to know here.

What Does E-Waste Mean?

E-waste means electronic waste. E-waste recycling encompasses the recycling of all electronic equipment.

Examples include televisions, computers, phones, monitors, appliances, radios, air conditioners, and more. These broken and abandoned electronics contain hazardous materials that leak into the soil and groundwater.

Laptop batteries are one common piece of e-waste that often wind up in landfills. Laptop batteries contain manganese, nickel, and cobalt. These chemicals leak out and pollute our environment, causing health problems.

Recycling your battery and other electronic waste can help prevent this problem.

To remain compliant, your business must understand federal laws, such as the Pollution Prevention Act and state recycling laws regarding electronics disposal.

How the E-Waste Recycling Process Works

First, you’ll place an order with an electronics recycling company. You’ll get a quote for the shipping price and learn more about the materials you’ll need to pack and ship the items.

Next, you’ll get a box for the items. Follow the instructions that come with the packaging and carefully pack your electronics.

Schedule a pickup for your package. After this point, your electronics are on their way to processing.

Arrival and Dismantling

Once the items arrive, they’ll be sorted by hand. Batteries and other items that cannot get crushed get pulled aside.

The next step in the process involves manual dismantling. Each product is carefully taken apart, and each piece is separated based on its category. Some parts can be reused, and those are set aside.

Shredding

Items that aren’t reusable go to shredding, which helps decrease their size. Pieces then go through a secondary size reduction using a conveyor belt and shaking process. Dust extraction during this part is then disposed of in a safe and environmentally responsible way.

A special magnet removes metal components, such as iron and steel.

Further Separation

Non-magnetic pieces then have to undergo another separation process. This includes removing aluminum, brass, and copper from the remaining debris. Metallic pieces can then be either resold or reused.

Non-Metallic Debris

Non-metallic pieces, such as plastic and glass, are then separated using water. These materials can either be resold or reused.

Materials like plastic are often used to create other plastic products.

Glass is usually found in computer monitors and televisions. This extraction process is a little tricky since it often involves removing toxic materials like lead and barium. Recycled glass can create new screens.

Devices with mercury, batteries, ink and toner cartridges, circuit boards, and hard drives all need to go to specialized recycling companies.

Reducing the E-Waste Problem

Now that you know more about the e-waste recycling process, you can feel confident sending your electronics to be safely and responsibly managed.

We can help you recycle everything from lamps and bulbs to batteries and more. Check out our selection of recycling kits to get started!

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