Every year billions of new technology products are built and shipped out across the world. From laptops, to cell phones, to televisions, and more, it’s likely that you’ve purchased one yourself in the past year. Recycling the device it’s replacing is crucial, both for sustainability and environmental health. But what is the E-Waste Recycling Process?
The answer depends on the type of device, but, broadly speaking, the general process involves shredding the device and sorting its contents into component groups.
The E-Waste Recycling Process by Device Type
Cell Phones, Hard Drives, Computers, and Laptops
While this category is broad, the recycling process for these technologies tend to be the same. An e-recycler will pick up the devices from a drop off location, or come to you if it’s a large enough pickup to make it economically viable. While a full e-waste recycling process will destroy the device and its data, you should still wipe the device and destroy the data on it prior to drop off.
Once picked up, the technology gets taken to an e-recycling facility. There it’s sorted by type, before going through an electronics shredder. After the shred, the process follows these steps.
- Metals and plastics are separated
- Iron and steel materials go through a magnets, which separate them
- Aluminum, copper, and circuit boards get separated from the rest of the steam
- Sorting separates the glass and plastic
- Finally, all other metal remnants are separated from the material stream
After the process, the materials are sold as commodities, going into the circular economy to create new technology products.
Monitors and TVs
Monitors and TVs, whether they be LED or CRT, require a more complicated recycling process. Oftentimes refurbishing is the best option, as the recycling process is expensive and time-consuming. However, these devices still need recycling of some kind, as left in a landfill many will leak toxic waste as they decompose.
CRT Monitors and TVS
These devices require a very labor intensive e-waste recycling process. Dissembling old CRT equipment must be done by hand. Then, any lead must be separated from the glass, before any of the remaining components are sorted and processed.
Then, the process mirrors that of other electronic devices, without the shredding. The metals, glass, and plastics get sorted into various piles. Following the sorting process, they are sent to a facility that converts them into usable parts or materials for new technology.
LED Monitors and TVs
These devices require a labor intensive process as well, but thankfully, there’s no lead to deal with. First, the glass is removed from the television, cleaned, and crushed into small parts, which will make new glass products. Then, the metal and plastics are sorted, before a recycler melts them down and they begin their new life as the metal or plastic of a new device.
The circuitry and microchips that make up modern TVs and monitors are often recycled as well. Microchips or motherboards get shredded, and the circuitry, such as copper wire, can be resold.
Recycle Your Old Technology with Electronics Recycling Finder
Electronics Recycling Finder partners with e-waste recycling companies across the country. If there’s an old TV, computer, or other device sitting around your house taking up space, we can help. Call us at 844-648-4908 or fill out the form on the page, and we’ll connect you to a nearby recycler within minutes.