The trash that we produce from broken, surplus, or obsolete electronic devices are what we call electronic waste (or e-waste). If these materials are not disposed of properly, its various toxic and hazardous components such as mercury or lead could harm humans and the environment. To counter the effects of irresponsible e-waste disposal, e-recycling in Singapore came into existence.
E-recycling is the process of recovering material from old devices to use in new products. Today, the most frequently replaced electronic devices are cellular or mobile phones, along with televisions, computers, laptops, tablets, VCRs, stereos, copiers, and fax machines. By the time they reach the end of their life span, most of these electronic devices end up in landfills, and only some of it gets recycled.
These electronic devices are composed of valuable materials such as copper, iron, tin, aluminum, fossil fuels, titanium, gold, and silver. Thankfully, the mantra of “reuse, reduce, and recycle” can be applied to a large portion of the materials used in creating these electronic devices, like plastics, metals, and glass.
As much as possible, reduce your e-waste generation through smart procurement and proper maintenance. If you have functioning devices that you no longer need, reuse them by donating or selling them to people who can still make use of them. For electronic devices that you cannot repair, recycle those products.
The E-Recycling Process
The essence of e-recycling is to recover valuable materials from electronic devices and save natural resources like silver, aluminum, copper, and plastics. It also allows the reduction of pollution and conservation of landfill space.
E-recycling also helps reduce carbon and methane emission and decrease production waste. A desktop computer, for example, takes 1.5 tons of water, 530 pounds of fossil fuel, and 40 pounds of chemicals to manufacture. When recycling one million cellular phones, we can recover 35,000 pounds of copper, 772 pounds of silver, 75 pounds of gold, and 33 pounds of palladium.
However, it would help if you considered the following before you decide to donate or recycle your used electronic devices. Rather than buying a new laptop or desktop computer, try upgrading your electronic device’s software or hardware first. If you decide to donate or recycle your electronic devices, make sure that you have deleted all personal information such as passwords and bank account information and the like from them. Also, if your devices contain batteries, try to remove them from your devices as they may need to be recycled separately.
Generally, the e-recycling process includes the following steps:
- Collection and Transportation: The initial stage of collection and transportation includes recyclers placing collection bins or electronic take-back booths across specific locations for people to drop their no longer useful electronic devices. These devices are then collected and transported to recycling plants or facilities.
- Shredding, Sorting, Separation: As e-waste reaches the recycling plant or facility, they are processed and separated into clean commodities that people can still reuse to make new products. As they separate plastics and metals and other internal circuitry for reuse, they shred the remaining waste materials into tiny pieces for further sorting. Using a powerful overhead magnet, they separate iron and steel from the waste stream on the conveyor. They then prepare these metals for sale as recycled steel. More complicated mechanical processing allows for the separation of copper, aluminum, and circuit boards from the waste stream, which by now is made up mostly of plastic. They then separate plastic from the glass through a water separation technology. The final separation process identifies and collects any remaining metals from the plastics to purify the waste stream further.
E-Recycling Services in Singapore
Usually, manufacturers and retailers offer options of where to donate or recycle electronic devices. KGS is a leading IT waste management company that provides e-recycling services in Singapore for your e-waste disposal and recycling needs. Check up KGS E-Recycling Bin Initiative to reduce E-waste locally and globally!