Recycling of e-waste is one of the efficient methods of e-waste management. E-waste is one of the curses of modern society which is hell bent on going hi-tech with little concern about the impact that it has on the environment and ultimately, on our health. Technology is rapidly evolving with mobile phones and laptops changing technologies and platforms faster than the blink of an eye. But where does that lead to? Mounds and mounds of discarded laptops, computers, fax machines and myriads of other household and electronic appliances being discarded, stocked up or transported to scrapping yards.
One of the most efficient ways of waste disposal is by recycling. Recycling of plastic materials have come into vogue for quite some time and this concept is now being extended to electronic waste disposal. E-waste is a primary concern in all countries, especially in developing countries where primitive technologies are still being used to manage wastes. E-waste is also growing in an alarming rate in developing countries as older and obsolete technologies are finding their way as cheap export items from developed countries. Hence, many developing countries such as China are now working on various ways to re-se and recycle e-waste which is a better way of e–waste management than such items ending up in landfills or in incinerators.
As technology is improving, recycling methods also need to be evolve to keep pace with the appliances which are being discarded in order to make the most out of such discarded technological items. Cell phones, computers are becoming sleeker and hence electronic recyclers need to adapt themselves with such new dimensions. Many of such paper thin devices are escaping the recycling processes which are mostly built to handle bulky, heavy machineries.
Many electronic recycling companies are thus adding new shredders in their processing lines to handle such compact devices. Shredders are nowadays not only being used in recycling plants but also in private companies which are using such machines to process electronic appliances which have neared the end of their life tenure.
Again, the information which is stored in such devices might be crucial to companies and individuals and safe destruction of such information before such appliances are recycled and put to re-use is another important aspect of recycling of e-waste.
Most recycling plants have a two staged shredding process whereby a primary shredder produces a coarse shred. After that, many items such as batteries, plastic casings are removed and then they are passed onto the fine shredder process. The better sorted the recycled materials, the better use the smelting plants can make of the recovered base metals and other items which can then be recycled. A lot of manual sorting still needs to be done in recycling plants since a lot of low grade materials come in with the electronic appliances which are unsuitable either for smelting plants or for landfills.