Details on how electronic waste is recycled:
Electronic waste substancesSome computer components can be reused in assembling new computer
products,Some are reduced to metals that can be reused in
applications as varied as construction, flatware, and jewelry.Almost all electronics contain lead and tin (as solder) and copper (as wire and printed circuit board tracks), though the use of lead-free solder is now spreading rapidly.Recycling
Electronic waste processing systems have matured in recent years,
following increased regulatory, public, and commercial scrutiny, and a
commensurate increase in entrepreneurial interest. 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 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.
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+ Consumer recycling options include donating equipment directly to organizations in need, sending devices directly back to their original manufacturers, or getting components to a convenient recycler or refurbisher
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+ However, local recycling sites that do not process waste products on site, and consumers that throw electronics in the trash, still contribute to electronic waste.
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+ Individuals looking for environmentally-friendly ways in which to dispose of electronics can find corporate electronic takeback and recycling programs across the country.
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Corporations nationwide have begun to offer low-cost to no-cost recycling, open to the public in most cases, and have opened centers nationally and in some cases internationally. Such programs frequently offer services to take back and recycle electronics, including mobile phones,
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laptop and desktop computers, digital cameras, and home and auto electronics.Though helpful to both the environment and its citizens, there are some downsides to such programs. Many corporations offer services for a variety of electronic items, while their recycling centers are few in number.
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Recycling centers and takeback programs are available in many parts of the country, but the type and amount of equipment to be recycled tends to be limited
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+ Many new for-profit electronic recycling companies purchase and recycle all brands of working and broken electronics, whether from individuals or corporations. Such companies also offer free recycling for old electronics without market value.
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A basic business model is to provide a seller an instant online quotation based on usability characteristics, then to send a shipping label and prepaid box to the seller, to erase, reformat, and process any internal memory, and to pay rapidly by check.
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Building a market for exchange recycling of desktop computers has proven more difficult than exchange programs for laptops, smartphones, and other smaller electronics.
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In developed countries, electronic waste processing usually first involves dismantling the equipment into various parts (metal frames, power supplies, circuit boards, plastics), often by hand.
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The advantages of this process are the human's ability to recognize and save working and repairable parts, including chips, transistors, RAM, etc. The disadvantage is that the labor is often cheapest in countries with the lowest health and safety standards.