Where Do Our Recycled Electronics Go ?

Have you ever wondered where your recycled e-waste ends up? If you are an environmentally responsible electronics recycler, you may or may not already know the answer to this question. On the other hand, if you happen to be a newbie when it comes to recycling electronics, (aka e-cycling) you just might be one of the individuals wondering where our recycled electronics go.

What Happens To Recycled Electronics At E-Cycling Centers?

Recently, places like the state of New York have implemented new laws about e-waste. This is a good thing because it means that every year there will be a little bit less e-waste winding up in landfills. Less e-waste in landfills equals less toxic waste and less air pollution and soil and water contamination. So what happens to our electronics whenever they are recycled?

Electronic devices like televisions, MP3 players and printers can be dropped off at one of the numerous drop-off e-waste recycling centers located around the globe. Whenever you drop off one of these electronic gadgets, an inspection is conducted in order to see if the item is salvageable.

The Lower East Side Ecology Center in New York City, NY is one of the 80 different drop-off e-cycling locations in the city of New York. Each year, this site alone handles nearly 350 tons of e-waste materials and the technicians either refurbish or resell electronic devices that are still usable.

What Happens To E-Waste That Cannot Be Reused, Resold or Refurbished?

Any electronic gadgets that cannot be reused or refurbished in their present condition are then wrapped up along with all of the other recyclables and shipped off in tractor-trailer trucks to an actual designated e-cycling plant.

Once the technician has inspected the electronics, the devices are shredded through a shredder that breaks them down into much smaller chunks. Each plant sorts the electronics materials a little bit differently; however, a lot of them use a system called an optical sorting system. This system identifies the actual properties of the chunks going by on the conveyor belt using a laser beam. It categorizes all of the pieces and parts into designated bins for computer chips, plastic and metal. The bins with these commodities are then sold on the market all over the world.

What Happens After The Recycling Process?

After the materials have been sold, the real recycling takes place. Computer plastics actually contain materials that are flame-retardant. These are reused in order to produce more technological materials.

Plastic is usually sold to Chinese manufacturers so it can be used in other electronic devices. Metals that are extracted from the recycled e-waste often stays closer to its original home due to the fact that the U.S. usually still has a lot of domestic uses for and manufacturing plants for metals. Rare earth metals are elements often used in a lot of electronic gadgets, and are also a lot easier to extract form recycled e-waste than from the actual earth.

So where do our recycled electronics go? Now you know! Feel free to spread the word and pass along the importance of recycling our electronic waste.


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