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e-waste: computer parts for electronic recycling
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What is e-Waste?

 by Jack McLellan,

What is e-Waste? Electronic Waste 101

E-waste, also known as electronic waste, is an umbrella term for electronics discarded at the end of their lifetime. Electronics are a big part of everyday life, with computers, tablets, and smartphones utilized in most workplaces and households. Unfortunately, the increased use of electronics comes at a price: increased e-waste.

E-waste is rapidly becoming a problem due to the amount of electronics produced daily. If we want to keep up, more must be done to combat it. Every year, we make 50 million tons of e-waste, which will continue to increase over time. Therefore, it is essential to know how to properly dispose of electronic waste for reuse so it doesn’t end up in a landfill.

Examples of e-Waste

E-waste comes in all shapes and sizes. Common examples include:

  • Cell phones
  • Computers
  • Televisions
  • Refrigerators
  • Microwaves
  • A/C units
  • Cords

The Problem

When e-waste is not recycled correctly, it negatively impacts the environment. A common shortcut for disposing of electronic waste is burning it. But since electronics contain substances such as lead and mercury, these substances can’t just be burned. When burned, many of these substances release toxins such as dioxins, which can cause cancer and other health complications.

Once these toxins enter the air, they travel into the soil and groundwater. Once they enter the groundwater, they travel to rivers and other bodies of water further away from electronic waste plants. Excess dioxides cause water pollution and acidification, making clean drinking water harder to find. Ultimately, this will lead to sick animals and polluted natural environments. 

How to Recycle E-Waste

Recycling e-waste is similar to other specialized types of recyclable materials. Like certain kinds of glass, you should not throw electronic waste in household garbage or recycling cans. The components within the electronic waste, such as cords, can cause clogs in recycling machinery or contaminate other recycled products when mixed.

Instead, you should bring old electronics to a local facility or store that accepts electronic waste for processing and reuse. If you’re unsure where to drop it off, look online for centers in your county or use a website like Earth911.

Electronic waste facilities use specialized equipment to avoid getting clogged or tangled up with e-waste components such as cords. For example, General Kinematics’ Rod Decks can handle items with cords that tangle other recycling equipment.

Benefits of Recycling Electronic Waste

Electronics contain valuable reusable materials such as gold, copper, palladium, silver, lithium, glass, and plastic. As stated above, these materials are left in landfills and pollute the environment when electrical waste is thrown out or improperly broken down. But when e-waste is recycled, these valuable materials can be reused in new electronics and other items, saving energy on production and keeping our planet cleaner. 

Because of the variety of components used in e-waste, specialized equipment, such as General Kinematics’ High Stroke Feeder, are used to increase purity through advanced distribution of materials, which keeps items like glass and plastic separate from metals.

Electronic waste is rising rapidly because of the increased use of everyday electronic devices. The recycling industry creates hundreds of thousands of jobs in the U.S. alone. These numbers will continue to grow as the e-waste sector is projected to nearly triple in worth by 2028, from $49 billion in 2020 to $143 billion in 2028.

Make the Most of Your e-Waste Recycling

Precious metals extracted from e-scrap can bring in big money. General Kinematics engineers and manufactures vibratory processing equipment to enhance, separate, and maximize the purity level of these various commodities from electronic waste. Contact us today, and our technical experts will show you how to recycle e-waste efficiently and profitably.

Jack McLellan

Marketing Coordinator

Jack specializes in creating compelling digital marketing content such as social media, blog posts, newsletters, and more. He works with General Kinematics industry experts to develop educational content for the foundry, recycling, mining, and aggregate industries.