With technological advancements, the growing concern for electronic waste is alarming naturalists and environmentalists.
Every update in technology, outdates the existing ones. This, in turn, increases the amount of e-waste being disposed-off in the environment.
In this article, you’ll get an idea of each and every aspect of e-waste and its recycling process.
Almost 100% of the waste is recyclable
An interesting fact about e-waste is, that almost all of it is recyclable. The electronic scrap contains components such as heavy metals like cadmium and beryllium. Apart from this, there are glass components used for making connections. None of these components is non-recyclable. For example, your mobile device is 100% recyclable including plastic housing and internal components. Similarly, your computer monitor is also totally recyclable. This means there can be potentially less manufacturing for these components if recycled materials are used.
The global figure for e-waste
According to a source, in 2014, 41.8 million tons of e-waste was generated and this number had hit record-high 49.8 million tons in 2018. All of this waste included small and large equipment, temperature exchange equipment, screens and monitors, and then there were small IT equipment and lamps. With technology progressing and updating at alarming rates, Ryan Morrel of CJDEcycling.com says that recycling electronics is more important now than in years past. If you consider these figures, a report from EPA suggests that we are to get rid of 416,000 mobile devices and 142,000 computers either by recycling or disposing of them.
The technologies used to extract e-waste
The e-waste contains toxic metals that need sophisticated technologies for recycling. Some of the common toxic components include polybrominated diphenyl ethers, chromium, lead, nickel, copper, and so on. The common technologies employed to recycle these materials include pyrolysis, hydrometallurgical methods, mechanical and air classification methods, and electrostatic separation method. Out of these, the most widely employed one is the pyrolysis method which involves the use of chemicals. Being the most cost-effective and efficient method for sorting and separating these toxic components, pyrolysis presents a feasible option to industries. The fact that these chemicals are then disposed into the environment, its widespread application is questionable and concern for environmentalists.
How does recycling e-waste help?
The most effective solution to the growing e-waste problem is recycling raw materials from end-of-life electronics. Recovering reusable materials from electronics can help conserve natural resources. In addition, it also helps to reduce the air and water pollution caused due to hazardous disposal of these materials into the environment. With responsible recycling methods, these benefits can be further extended. Resulting in reduced dangers to human health.
Many countries including the US, Japan, and European countries are pushing forward the idea of developing sustainable materials. This reduces the impact on the environment and helps completely recycle the materials. This further helps with reducing the cost to the companies for procuring new raw materials and processing them to achieve the desired product. Since the demands for environment-friendly manufacturing processes and produces is growing rapidly, opting for a smart e-waste recycling method is necessary.