We are all aware of the benefits that recycling can offer. Not only will it protect the environment, but these practices are able to ensure that future generations can reap the benefits associated with the actions that we take today. Common materials associated with recycling include metals, plastics and even dangerous chemical compounds. However, there is a new sector specifically devoted to recycling the technological and electronic items that we utilise on a daily basis. Let us examine this concept in greater detail before taking a look at what you can do to become involved with such a revolutionary movement.
The Theory Behind Technological Recycling
One of the main concerns revolving around electronic recycling is the fact that many of the items which we use are considered to be disposable after a certain amount of time. For example, old mobile phones are frequently discarded alongside common organic waste. Very few consumers consider the fact that the substances contained within these devices may provide invaluable manufacturing opportunities. This is the entire reason why a new category of recycling known as “ e-recycling ” has come into existence. However, this concept is not limited to mobile phones. It also encompasses:
- Laptop computers.
- Personal computers.
- Certain household appliances.
- Tablets and other mobile phones.
While these categories can be included within modern recycling programmes, let us narrow down this principle a bit and take a look at the types of materials which are the most valuable to companies.
Why is Technological Recycling a Profitable Industry?
One common myth is that modern technological devices are mainly comprised of common materials. There could be nothing further from the truth. One of the reasons why the e-recycling industry is so profitable is that it is able to extract a host of precious metals from what might have otherwise been obsolete devices. Common examples include silver, gold and copper. However, this is not primary advantage.
There are many rare earth metals to be found within these very same electronic wonders. Such substances are very difficult to mine and perhaps more importantly, only a limited amount can be accessed utilising today’s technology. A handful of these substances are:
Recycling these metals is much more viable when compared to digging into the ground in hopes of finding a massive ore deposit. Whether referring to an iPhone or a tablet , this observation is just as true. The next time you ask the question “should I sell my mobile phone or recycle it?”, keep this in mind.
How Does the Process Work?
There are several steps involved with this type of recycling process. When an iPhone or a similar device arrives at the recycling centre, a crusher breaks up its outer housing. This is necessary to gain access to the materials found within. Large electromagnets separate any aluminium and steel. Then, chemicals become involved. These devices are sent to several chemical “baths” and each of these is intended to separate specific metals from one another. After a lengthy (and complicated) process, the raw materials are sent to different containers. These will be used in the future production of similar devices.
Can You Become Involved?
Should I sell my mobile phone or deposit into a recycling bin? This is a very logical question. Of course, selling your smartphone on the open market will normally provide you with a bit of spare cash. However, older phones could be difficult to promote. If you find that there are no buyers, it could be an excellent idea to opt for the recycling option. Not only will you be helping the environment, but you could even be lowering the costs of future models by providing manufacturers with the materials that they require.
Technological recycling is here to stay. This industry should enjoy even more prominence as rare metals become more difficult to obtain through traditional methods. The next time you utilise your phone to make a call or to access the Internet, keep in mind the valuable substances that are literally at your fingertips.
Founder Dinis Guarda
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