What to Know about Recovering Precious Metal from E-Scrap

escrap recycling general kinematics

When we consider waste, the most potent image that comes to mind is of landfills topped with everything from plastic lawn chairs to laundry detergent bottles. But, another and more specific rubbish pile that’s been accumulating due to the technology booms is e-scrap, or discarded electronic and electrical devices.

What is interesting about e-scrap is that much of it contains recoverable secondary scrap metals like copper and steel. Items under the umbrella include everything from discarded computers, electronic devices for entertainment and mobile phones to refrigerators and office electronic equipment. Of those discarded electronics, some can be refurbished, resold or reused, while others can be recycled and some must be disposed.

E-scrap Recycling Facilities

Some companies will pick up those old electronics, and may even offer services like hard drive destruction. (IE, Recycling E-Scrap in Florida or All Green Electronics Recycling in Colorado.)

One progressive movement in e-scrap recycling is a facility in the U.K. that’s currently in development- an integrated plasma facility that recycles the country’s obsolete electronics and enables precious metal recovery. Rather than exporting electronic scraps to refineries, the plant will allow almost all of the precious metals in electronic scrap waste to be recovered domestically using plasma smelting technology. One partner in the project, called Tetronics, has already used the process to extract precious metals from catalytic converters and industrial catalysts.

This e-scrap recycling business and facility model could become a global example of how to recover materials successfully without shipping items out of country yet maximizing cost-effectiveness and receiving high value, as those precious metals can be resold.

Recycling Your Electronics

When you’re ready to throw out your electronics do a local online search in your area to see where the closest facilities are located. Call or email to inquire as to whether they are the best facility for the item that you’re turning over.

Keep in mind, some services may be offered free of charge while others have a price tag. Talk those details over with the e-scrap facility or collector. And, make sure to speak with your tax accountant about what donations or recycling payments are tax deductible. One other note – before you toss out the family’s old mobile phone or desktop, remember to clear your data!

Best Practices for Clearing Data

Have you ever attempted to “clear the cookies” from your laptop? We recently made the attempt and realized that while the URL history and password memory for online logins can be wiped clean, there is a column in the system preferences where login names and passwords are stored directly on the laptop. It’s like a secret storage compartment that could be helpful—or risky.

When someone considers agencies that retain individual personal information—like health data, finances, or taxes—the information could hold security risks if it is not deleted properly or completely. According to a study from Blancco Technology Group and Kroll Ontrack, 57 percent of used mobile devices and 75 percent of used drives—including hard disc drives and solid state drives—purchased from Amazon, eBay and Gazelle contain residual data (Recycling Today).

One of the largest components of recycling electronics sans personal information is the need to educate users to know that when information is deleted, or if someone logs out of an account on the device, the information may still be stored locally. For example, if you delete files on your desktop or even in your email inbox, those items sit in the trash bin until they are deleted a second time.

At this point in e-scrap development, it may take more individual effort to call an e-scrap collector to pick up the old electronics or to personally visit a drop-off facility—but just like the consortium in the U.K., that initial investment will make a large difference for the future.  


2 Responses to “What to Know about Recovering Precious Metal from E-Scrap”

  1. Zachary Tomlinson

    Thanks for helping me learn more about the benefits of recycling e-materials. I find it interesting to learn that some electronics contain copper and they could still be reused even though the electronics are defective. I remember that my uncle is looking for a way to dispose of his old CPUs. I’ll share this with him so he could recycle them instead.

  2. Chris Pederson

    Thanks for the tip to clear your electronic of your data before you recycle it. I don’t want a stranger to get access to all of my login information. That could financially ruin me if they got a hold of my bank account.

Leave a Reply

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

Related Recycling News

General Kinematics | All Systems Go!

Celebrating 60 years in business, General Kinematics announces their status as full-time system integrators. Check out the full article here:                       Read the article   Looking for a turn-key recycling system? Check out GK Systems. Have a question? Ask the experts!

Read More

Single Stream vs. Dual Stream Recycling

Recycling can be an equipment- and resource-intensive process, with many facilities preferring dual or multi-stream processing to expedite the filtering of different materials. But single stream recycling also offers benefits to consumers and facilities alike. So which one is right for your recycling facility? Before digging into the argument of which method of recycling is […]

Read More

How MSW Plants Turn Waste to Energy

Municipal solid waste, or MSW, can be recovered and turned into biofuel. This process of turning garbage into fuel works twofold: it lessens the world’s dependence on fossil fuels and it keeps trash out of landfills. When MSW is burned rather than buried in landfills, the volume of waste is reduced by about 87%. In […]

Read More