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Recycling Electronics Technical Details

By: Viraj Tamakuwala

General Information
A commonly used name for Electronics that have reached their end of useful life is Ewaste. Recycling of electronics is a process which comes after reuse, in Toronto there is a
ReUseIt program which has listings and way for people to reuse or donate their electronics
rather than sending them for recycling (toronto.ca). In addition, in Ontario recycling of
electronics can be done for free due to that charging of Environmental Handling Fee (EHF), on
the purchase of every new electronic device in Canada (Ontario Electronic Stewardship).
According to recycleyourelectronics.ca, the importance of this fee is that it helps Reduce the
amount of electronics that end up in landfills and prevent them from being illegally exported.
Help protect the health and safety of the workers processing the electronics. Conserve natural
resources by recovering raw materials that can be used to make new products. Together we can
ensure the enjoyment of electronics today comes with the responsibility of properly recycling
them for a cleaner tomorrow. (Ontario Electronic Stewardship)
In addition, there is an association called Electronic Products Recycling Association,
which regulates recycling all over Canada to make sure they are up to the highest standards and
are being processed correctly and properly by the recycling facilities (EPRA). Their vison
statement is To be recognized in Canada as the leading operator of environmentally responsible,
regulated, cost-effective programs for end-of-life electronic products. their goal and vision will
make Canada, a leading country in efficient recycling of electronic products (EPRA).
To give an idea of the immense amount of E-waste, a report from EPA (U.S.) had stated
that In 2012, we generated 3.412 million tons of e-waste in the U.S. Of this amount, only 1
million tons or 29.2 % was recycled, according to the EPA (up from 25% in 2011). The rest was
trashed in landfills or incinerators (United States Environmental Protection Agency). Waste
management infrastructure is expanding as we wrestle with how best to gather, sort, and recycle
the 50 million tons of e-waste we are generating annually worldwide. (Lawless).

Recycling Of Electronics
The process of recycling electronics are simple and straight forward. The first step is
dismantling of the devices, they are separated into its different parts so that it can be divided into
categories of item and/or raw materials. This is done to avoid contamination with toxic
substances during the next processes. A recycling company in Australia had stated To obtain the
highest possible result, labour intensive methods are used to completely disassemble and

Recycling Electronics Technical Details

By: Viraj Tamakuwala

separate items into core materials and components. This allows us to supply our recycling
partners downstream with a pure product, free from contamination. (E-Cycle Recovery Pty Ltd)

The image above shows the different categories the materials are separated into and the
procedure of that recycling company. This step of the e-waste recycling is done by workers and
there is no machinery involved in this step of E-waste recycling.

1 http://www.ecyclerecovery.com.au/images/diagram.gif

2 http://www.recycleworks.org/images/ewaste_1.jpg

3 http://ewasteguide.info/system/files/common/bild_demontage_web.jpg

Recycling Electronics Technical Details

By: Viraj Tamakuwala

After the disassembly of the devices as seen in the images above, the components are placed on a
conveyer belt on which they will be shredded and separated into raw materials of what they are
made up of. The current machinery that will be present would be crushing units, shredders,
magnetic- and eddy-current- and air-separators.
There are hundreds of electronics that can be recycled and process of recycling each and
every one of them is different due to the raw materials in the components of those electronics. In
addition the electronic components are usually separated into the following categories: NonHazardous Materials, Electronic scrap and Substances of Concern. (Encorp Pacific (Canada)).
All the categories are dealt in their own way, but follow a similar procedure. After the
separation of the components, they are sent to be crushed by hydraulic pump units. They are then
shredded multiple times till they are no larger than 5 cm, and some take it down to 0.5 cm. After
the shredding process, when they are in fine small pieces, they need to be separated into their
own sections of the raw materials that are within the components (Sims Recycling Solutions).
They are first separated by magnetic separators (first image at the bottom), separates
ferrous material such as Iron and Steel from the other materials on the conveyer belt, which is
then sold to be used to make steel (Sims Recycling Solutions). The remaining material and then
further separated using eddy current (second image at the bottom), this separates Copper,
Aluminum from Plastics, (Sims Recycling Solutions).

Recycling Electronics Technical Details

By: Viraj Tamakuwala

At the end for a final check by human inspections is done before a metal detector is used to
separate the metal remnants from the plastics and then all the separated raw materials are sold as
raw materials to be smelted and /or refined to be used in new materials (Sims Recycling
Solutions).

4Sims Recycling Video ( Magnetic Shredder (1:02))

5 Sims Recycling Video (Eddy Current (1:25))

Recycling Electronics Technical Details

By: Viraj Tamakuwala

Automated Technology
An automated technology for the process after the disassembly of the electronic devices exists,
but it comes with a large price and disadvantages to humans. This is because recycling of
electronics with the current technology creates approximately 300 jobs for every 10,000 tons of
material that gets recycled. In addition, the newer technologies require continuous calculations
from multiple computer system. This would require the system to be online at all times and have
a higher electrical usage as calculations during the recycling process are to be made continuously
on a non-stop basis.
Furthermore, the cost isnt the main concern, the main concern is making profit from the
business. Using the current state of the art technologies, which are pretty simple and basic, their
expense is barely covered by the resale of the raw material but rather covered but the
Environmental Handling Fee, so that companies would continue to recycle electronic devices
and help the earth and the economy.
The usage of the modern, fancier automated technology in the recycling sectors is a big
no no, since it not only will cause a monetary loss to companies but to peoples jobs and the
economy. So we should stick to the current technology that works and if helping the environment
and the economy and only expand to a technologies which help both the environment and the
economy.

6 Sims Recycling Video (Metal Detector(2:15))

Recycling Electronics Technical Details

By: Viraj Tamakuwala

REPORT BY: VIRAJ TAMAKUWALA

Works Cited
E-Cycle Recovery Pty Ltd. The Process. n.d. Web. 2 April 2016.
<http://www.ecyclerecovery.com.au/theprocess.htm>.
Encorp Pacific (Canada). The Electronics Recycling Process. 2016. Web. 2 April 2016.
<https://www.return-it.ca/electronics/recycling/productrecycling/>.
EPRA. "Who We Are." 2016. EPRA. Web. 2 April 2016. <http://epra.ca/who-we-are>.
Lawless, Caprice. 5 steps to responsible E-waste management at your school. Nov.
2008. Learning & Leading with Technology. Web. 3 April 2016.
<http://go.galegroup.com/ps/i.do?id=GALE
%7CA132802349&v=2.1&u=tplmain&it=r&p=CDB&sw=w&asid=ccdbbd6e32
b45d46d0eb4d48b8efddf4>.
Ontario Electronic Stewardship. "ABOUT THE ENVIRONMENTAL HANDLING FEE."
2014. recycleyourelectronics. Web. 2 April 2016.
<http://recycleyourelectronics.ca/environmental-handling-fees/>.
recycleworks. Old Computers Are Not Deleted: The Electronics Recycling Process.
2016. Web. 2 April 2016.
<http://www.recycleworks.org/ewaste/ewaste_process.html>.
Sims Recycling Solutions. How Electronics and Computers Are Recycled. n.d. Video.
<http://www.simsrecycling.com/newsroom/video/electronics-recycling>.

Recycling Electronics Technical Details

By: Viraj Tamakuwala

toronto.ca. "ReUseIt - Overview - Garbage & Recycling | City of Toronto." n.d.


ReUseIt - Overview - Garbage & Recycling | City of Toronto. Web. 2 April
2016. < http://www1.toronto.ca/wps/portal/contentonly?
vgnextoid=c46d433112b02410VgnVCM10000071d60f89RCRD>.
United States Environmental Protection Agency. "Advancing Sustainable Materials
Management: Facts and Figures." 3 April 2016. United States Environmental
Protection Agency. Web. 25 March 2016.
<https://www.epa.gov/smm/advancing-sustainable-materials-managementfacts-and-figures>.