E-waste Village - E-waste Management - Recycling


See also: Computer recycling

Today the electronic waste recycling business is in all areas of the developed world a large and rapidly consolidating business. Part of this evolution has involved greater diversion of electronic waste from energy-intensive downcycling processes (e.g., conventional recycling), where equipment is reverted to a raw material form. This is recycling is done by sorting, dismantling, and recovery of valuable materials This diversion is achieved through reuse and refurbishing. The environmental and social benefits of reuse include diminished demand for new products and virgin raw materials (with their own environmental issues); larger quantities of pure water and electricity for associated manufacturing; less packaging per unit; availability of technology to wider swaths of society due to greater affordability of products; and diminished use of landfills.

Audiovisual components, televisions, VCRs, stereo equipment, mobile phones, other handheld devices, and computer components contain valuable elements and substances suitable for reclamation, including lead, copper, and gold.

One of the major challenges is recycling the printed circuit boards from the electronic wastes. The circuit boards contain such precious metals as gold, silver, platinum, etc. and such base metals as copper, iron, aluminum, etc. One way e-waste is processed is by melting circuit boards, burning cable sheathing to recover copper wire and open- pit acid leaching for separating metals of value. Conventional method employed is mechanical shredding and separation but the recycling efficiency is low. Alternative methods such as cryogenic decomposition have been studied for printed circuit board recycling, and some other methods are still under investigation.

Read more about this topic:  E-waste Village, E-waste Management

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