5 Steps In The Electronics Recycling Process

The recycling process requires both automation and manual labour. Electronic waste contains metals and a range of other materials that can be extracted. Metals and materials like aluminium, silver, nickel, plastics, lacquer, and glass can be repurposed.

There are several steps involved in the recycling process of electronic equipment to ensure that these resources can be extracted in the most efficient manner. 

1. Collecting Materials From Recycling Stations

Featured image 5 Steps In The Electronics Recycling Process Collecting Materials From Recycling Stations - 5 Steps In The Electronics Recycling Process

This is probably the most labour-intensive stage of the operation. Recycling companies may need to make several stops at recycling stations to collect all the necessary materials for the recycling process. Recycling companies depend on people to sort materials in bins that are designated for electronics, plastics, metals, and paper.

However, this does not guarantee that waste materials won’t end up in the wrong waste bins. This means that employees working for the recycling business may need to sort through the waste to find electronic equipment that can be recycled.

2. Shredding and Compressing Materials

Featured image 5 Steps In The Electronics Recycling Process Shredding and Compressing Materials - 5 Steps In The Electronics Recycling Process

When the materials finally arrive at the main recycling operations, the materials are fed into machines that shred and compress items to make them easier to sort. Some machines may shred electronic items into small pieces and fragments. Machines are also designed to remove any dust and dirt on the metals before the next stage of recycling begins.

3. Separating Metals From Non-Metals

Featured image 5 Steps In The Electronics Recycling Process Separating Metals From Non Metals - 5 Steps In The Electronics Recycling Process

The electronic waste will still contain a lot of plastic or glass. Metals, such as copper, aluminium, and brass, are separated from non-metallic materials. The separation of the metals themselves can then be done via Eddy currents and magnets. Iron and steel fragments can be easily removed by magnets.

4. Water Separation Methods

Featured image 5 Steps In The Electronics Recycling Process Water Separation Methods - 5 Steps In The Electronics Recycling Process

Water separation methods are used to sort plastic and glass. Plastics can be sorted by colour and composition. The following water separation methods are quite common: threshing, sieving, evaporation, distillation, filtration, and sedimentation.

5. Materials Are Stored or Sold

Featured image 5 Steps In The Electronics Recycling Process Materials Are Stored or Sold - 5 Steps In The Electronics Recycling Process

Finally, the electronic materials can be stored or sold to relevant manufacturers. Smelted metals can be sold as raw commodities. Manufacturers can use recycled metals to make new electronic devices or other relevant items. Many businesses and people make a living off collecting materials and electronic waste and selling them to recycling companies.

The recycling process will not always follow these steps, but every process will involve sorting materials before they can be processed. Recycling companies need to ensure that employees are protected from hazardous materials during the recycling process.

Knowing why it is important to recycle electronic equipment and other materials is not enough. It is also important to learn how materials can be recycled and repurposed. Recycling activities will ultimately lead to the manufacture of more sustainable products.

Many companies purchase raw materials from recycling companies to manufacture products more sustainably. Follow the EPSA to find out more about the recycling process.