Responsible Electronics Recycling

Responsible Electronics Recycling

Electronics Recycling

An electronics recycler is essentially a massive sorting operation. Batteries go with other batteries sorted by type. Metals with other metals again sorted by type. Eventually we reduce everything down to it's component parts which are then shipped to one of our audited downstream vendors for further processing. 

The R2 and RIOS standards which we adhere to are extremely exacting and we are regularly audited for compliance. This means we have to account for everything that comes in and everything that goes out all the way to final disposition.

 No hazardous or toxic electronic waste material collected by R3Ewaste will be land-filled, incinerated, or shipped abroad to be dumped. We provide ethical, safe, and responsible e-waste recycling services. Please contact us with questions or concerns regarding proper e-waste disposal.

 R3Ewaste is the ideal choice for E-Waste processing. We provide a secure and environmentally friendly solution for recycling computers, monitors, printers and other IT equipment. R3Ewaste properly retires computer hardware and takes special steps in the areas of security, legal compliance and accountability. R3Ewaste will:

  • Pick up equipment directly from your loading dock, office or datacenter.
  • Destroy hard drives or thoroughly remove all data from hard disks using Department of Defense recommended methods (on-site service available). This protects against software licensing infringement and loss of sensitive information.
  • Recycle equipment according to state and federal environmental laws.
  • Provide a certified report detailing the services performed and confirming software removal (listed by hardware serial number).
  • Services are 100% HIPAA, HITECH, Gramm-Leach-Bliley, FACTA Red Flags Rule and EPA compliant.

 Computer recycling, electronic recycling or e-waste recycling is the disassembly and separation of components and raw materials of waste electronics. Although the procedures of re-use, donation and repair are not strictly recycling, they are other common sustainable ways to dispose of IT waste.  In 2009, 38% of computers and a quarter of total electronic waste was recycled in the United States, 5% and 3% up from 3 years prior respectively.

Since its inception in the early 1990s, more and more devices are recycled worldwide due to increased awareness and investment. Electronic recycling occurs primarily in order to recover valuable rare earth metals and precious metals , which are in short supply, as well as plastics and metals. These are resold or used in new devices after purification, in effect creating a circular economy .  Recycling is considered environmentally friendly because it prevents hazardous waste, including heavy metals and carcinogens, from entering the atmosphere, landfill or waterways. While electronics consist a small fraction of total waste generated, they are far more dangerous. There is stringent legislation designed to enforce and encourage the sustainable disposal of appliances, the most notable being the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Directive of the European Union and the United States National Computer Recycling Act.

There are many reasons for recycling.  Obsolete computers and old electronics are valuable sources for secondary raw materials if recycled; otherwise, these devices are a source of toxins and carcinogens . Rapid technology change, low initial cost, and planned obsolescence have resulted in a fast-growing surplus of computers and other electronic components around the globe. Technical solutions are available, but in most cases a legal framework, collection system, logistics, and other services need to be implemented before applying a technical solution. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency , estimates 30 to 40 million surplus PCs , classified as "hazardous household waste", would be ready for end-of-life management in the next few years. The U.S. National Safety Council estimates that 75% of all personal computers ever sold are now surplus electronics. In 2007, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) stated that more than 63 million computers in the U.S. were traded in for replacements or discarded. Today, 15% of electronic devices and equipment are recycled in the United States.

Most electronic waste is sent to landfills or incinerated , which releases materials such as lead, mercury, or cadmium into the soil, groundwater, and atmosphere, thus having a negative impact on the environment.  Many materials used in computer hardware can be recovered by recycling for use in future production. Reuse of tin , silicon , iron , aluminium , and a variety of plastics that are present in bulk in computers or other electronics can reduce the costs of constructing new systems. Components frequently contain lead , copper , gold and other valuable materials suitable for reclamation.  Computer components contain many toxic substances, like dioxins , polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), cadmium , chromium , radioactive isotopes and mercury . A typical computer monitor may contain more than 6% lead by weight, much of which is in the lead glass of the cathode ray tube (CRT). A typical 15 inch (38 cm) computer monitor may contain 1.5 pounds (1 kg) of lead but other monitors have been estimated to have up to 8 pounds (4 kg) of lead. Circuit boards contain considerable quantities of lead-tin solders that are more likely to leach into groundwater or create air pollution due to incineration. The processing (e.g. incineration and acid treatments) required to reclaim these precious substances may release, generate, or synthesize toxic byproducts.  Export of waste to countries with lower environmental standards is a major concern. The Basel Convention includes hazardous wastes such as, but not limited to, CRT screens as an item that may not be exported transcontinentally without prior consent of both the country exporting and receiving the waste. Companies may find it cost-effective in the short term to sell outdated computers to less developed countries with lax regulations. It is commonly believed that a majority of surplus laptops are routed to developing nations . The high value of working and reusable laptops, computers, and components (e.g. RAM ) can help pay the cost of transportation for many worthless commodities.

Laws governing the exportation of waste electronics are put in place to govern recycling companies in developed countries which ship waste to Third World countries.  In Switzerland , the first electronic waste recycling system was implemented in 1991, beginning with collection of old refrigerators; over the years, all other electric and electronic devices were gradually added to the system. The established producer responsibility organization is SWICO, mainly handling information, communication, and organization technology.  

The European Union implemented a similar system in February 2003, under the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Directive (WEEE Directive, 2002/96/EC).  Pan European adoption of the Legislation was slow on take-up, with Italy and the United Kingdom being the final member states to pass it into law. The success of the WEEE directive has varied significantly from state to state, with collection rates varying between 13 kilograms per capita per annum to as little as 1 kg per capita per annum. Computers & electronic wastes collected from households within Europe are treated under the WEEE directive via Producer Compliance Schemes (whereby manufacturers of Electronics pay into a scheme that funds its recovery from household waste recycling centres (HWRCs)) and nominated Waste Treatment Facilities (known as Obligated WEEE).  However, recycling of ex corporate Computer Hardware and associated electronic equipment falls outside the Producer Compliance Scheme (Known as non-obligated).

In the UK, Waste or obsolete corporate related computer hardware is treated via third party Authorized Treatment Facilities, who normally impose a charge for its collection and treatment.  Federal[ edit .  The United States Congress considers a number of electronic waste bills, like the National Computer Recycling Act introduced by Congressman Mike Thompson (D-CA). The main federal law governing solid waste is the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act of 1976. It covers only CRTs, though state regulations may differ. There are also separate laws concerning battery disposal . On March 25, 2009, the House Science and Technology Committee approved funding for research on reducing electronic waste and mitigating environmental impact, regarded by sponsor Ralph Hall ( R - TX ) as the first federal bill to directly address electronic waste. [10.  State[ edit .  Many states have introduced legislation concerning recycling and reuse of computers or computer parts or other electronics.  Most American computer recycling legislations address it from within the larger electronic waste issue.  In 2001, Arkansas enacted the Arkansas Computer and Electronic Solid Waste Management Act, which requires that state agencies manage and sell surplus computer equipment, establishes a computer and electronics recycling fund, and authorizes the Department of Environmental Quality to regulate and/or ban the disposal of computer and electronic equipment in Arkansas landfills.

The recently passed Electronic Device Recycling Research and Development Act distributes grants to universities, government labs and private industries for research in developing projects in line with e-waste recycling and refurbishment.  In Japan , sellers and manufacturers of certain electronics (such as televisions and air conditioners ) are required to recycle them. However, no legislation exists to cover the recycling of computer or cellphone related wastes.  

It is required in South Korea and Taiwan that sellers and manufacturers of electronics be responsible for recycling 75% of their used products.  According to a report by UNEP titled, "Recycling – from E-Waste to Resources," the amount of e-waste being produced – including mobile phones and computers – could rise by as much as 500 percent over the next decade in some countries, such as India.

One theory is that increased regulation of electronic waste and concern over the environmental harm in mature economies creates an economic disincentive to remove residues prior to export. Critics of trade in used electronics maintain that it is too easy for brokers calling themselves recyclers to export unscreened electronic waste to developing countries, such as China, India and parts of Africa, thus avoiding the expense of removing items like bad cathode ray tubes (the processing of which is expensive and difficult).

The developing countries are becoming big dump yards of e-waste. Proponents of international trade point to the success of fair trade programs in other industries, where cooperation has led creation of sustainable jobs, and can bring affordable technology in countries where repair and reuse rates are higher.  Organizations like A2Z Group have stepped in to own up the responsibility to collect and recycle e-waste at various locations in India.  South Africa. Thanks to the National Environmental Management Act 1998 and National Environmental Management Waste Act 2008, any person in any position causing harm to the environment and failing to comply with the Waste Act could be fined R10 Million or put into jail or receive both penalties for their transgressions.  

Consumer recycling options consists of (see below) sale, donating computers directly to organizations in need, sending devices directly back to their original manufacturers, or getting components to a convenient recycler or refurbisher.  Scrapping/recycling[ edit .  The rising price of precious metals — coupled with the high rate of unemployment during the Great Recession — has led to a larger number of amateur "for profit" electronics recyclers. Computer parts, for example, are stripped of their most valuable components and sold for scrap. Metals like copper , aluminum , lead , gold and palladium are recovered from computers, televisions and more.

In the recycling process, TVs, monitors, mobile phones and computers are typically tested for reuse and repaired. If broken, they may be disassembled for parts still having high value if labour is cheap enough. Other e-waste is shredded to roughly 100 mm pieces and manually checked to separate out toxic batteries and capacitors which contain poisonous metals. The remaining pieces are further shredded to ~10 mm and passed under a magnet to remove ferrous metals. An eddy current ejects non-ferrous metals, which are sorted by density either by a centrifuge or vibrating plates. Precious metals can be dissolved in acid, sorted, and smelted into ingots. The remaining glass and plastic fractions are separated by density and sold to re-processors.

TVs and monitors must be manually disassembled to remove either toxic lead in CRTs or the mercury in flat screens.

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