In years past, waste recycling merely entailed ensuring that non-biodegradable items do not make their way into landfills. The everyday non-biodegradable items people would ensure they recycle are plastics and some metallic objects from their household appliances. However, as technology becomes an integral part of day-to-day living, there has come about a rise in ewaste. In simple terms, ewaste refers to electronic devices that either is no longer in use because they are outdated or have malfunctioned. A mistake some Australians make is merely chucking these items in the trash, and they eventually end up in landfills. If you want to lead a more eco-conscious lifestyle, it would be best to have this ewaste recycled through the proper channels and avoid environmental degradation. So what goes into waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) recycling?
Picking shed phase
The first step in ewaste recycling is referred to as the picking shed and involves having the items to be recycled being separated by hand. The hand picking is supposed to facilitate quality control and ensure that any items that should not go into the second phase are not included. As a result, components typically found in electronic gadgets such as copper and batteries are all removed from the items.
Size Reduction phase
The second step in ewaste recycling works to reduce the electronic materials into smaller pieces. The electronic gadgets are smashed into tiny pieces, which would make them easier to recycle. In addition to this, the size reduction phase also ensures that any data that may be lingering inside the electronic components are destroyed.
Secondary reduction phase
After the initial reduction, the obliterated pieces are then put on a conveyor belt for further decimation. The movement of the conveyor belt also functions to evenly spread out the crushed parts of the former gadgets, which helps in sorting any items that may not have been removed from the first phase. An industrial-duty magnet is then passed over the broken down pieces to attract iron and steel components from the waste materials.
Non-metallic and metallic separation phase
Although the ferrous metals will have been eliminated from the ewaste, there will still be a mixture of non-ferrous and plastics mixed in the waste materials. The separation phase functions to distinguish between metals such as brass, copper and aluminium from any plastic materials present. The non-ferrous metals can then be recycled to create raw materials that can be used in the manufacture of new electronic items.