Onsite electronics recycling plays a critical role in diverting solid waste from landfills and supporting zero-landfill initiatives. eCycle has seen that electronics recycling is also important because it helps to eliminate toxic scrap. It is a small percentage of solid waste but can account for up to 70% of all toxic waste.
Annually, the U.S. recycles approximately 4.4 million tonnes of used and end-of-life electronic products. It is a more valuable resource than the mining of virgin material. ISRI claims that one metric ton old computers can extract as much gold as 17 tons of ore.
E-waste contains a wealth of precious metals, with concentrations up to 50 times higher than natural deposits. Each year, more than 320 tons of gold are used and more than 7,500 tons of silver are used to create new electronic products all over the globe.
These devices have more than $21 trillion worth of precious metals – $16 billion in gold and $5 billion in silver – until they are recycled. Both metals and plastics that are recycled have a lower carbon footprint than those produced from virgin materials.
Recovery Of Precious Metals
This is a serious problem. Modern recycling facilities can recover up to 95 percent of gold. However, crude dismantling methods in developing countries may only recover 50 percent.
The current recovery rates for e-waste processing are very low. The U.S. EPA reported in 2009 that only 8 percent of cell phones, 17 percent of televisions, and 38 percent of computers were recycled. The majority of devices do not make it to recyclers and the few that do find their way are not sufficient to recover enough metals from them. Only 10 to 15% of the gold in e-waste can be recovered through recycling. All the rest goes to waste.
This low recycling rate highlights the importance of initiatives to promote precious resource recovery. You can do this by:
Policies that promote design for recycling policies and incentives to increase the e-scrap recycling rate, encouraging the public to recycle their end of life devices rather than stockpiling them in residences – where as much as 75 percent of end-of-life devices is estimated to be inventoried preventing the export of e-scrap to countries that will use processes resulting in a low recovery rate promoting investment in best practices to ensure that recovery will be maximized in both developed and developing countries.
Each jurisdiction has a different recycling process. There are two steps involved in the processing of e-scrap. The primary phase involves the dismantling or demanufacturing of electronic devices and sorting the components. The secondary recycling facility often handles further processing. There are many ways to crush and sort the material using magnets, screens, and eddy current. To liberate precious metals from electronic components, a smelting process can be used.
A promising new process promises to recover more gold quickly and cheaply from old computers, and other electronic devices with less environmental impact. Researchers claim that their process uses acetic acid and small amounts of acid. This combination dissolves gold at the fastest speed known. Apple also reported on April 2020 that it had retrieved 2,204 lbs of gold from the previous year. This was valued at $40 Million.
eCycle Florida is an R2 Certified electronics recycling company in the state of Florida. Our processes and procedures are dedicated to the proper destruction and recycling of your electronics. eCycle Florida is your go-to when looking for an onsite electronic recycling center in Florida. Check out the services in the multitude of industries that we offer:
We are happy to service areas all throughout Florida including:
The future will see the waste stream of the present as an opportunity for material recovery, which is a necessity as we work towards sustainability. Contact eCycle today to get more information on onsite electronics recycling check out our 5-star reviews!