How to obtain maximum performance in the recycling of electrical and electronic equipment, including cables and wires
The challenge of recycling electronic device cables and, at the same time, protecting the environment
Electronic waste is increasing. A major problem worldwide: garbage with tons of televisions, washing machines, electronic equipment, machines of all kinds, appliances, cameras, toys, printers, telephones … all kinds of devices with cables, cards, plugs and microchips.
Which are the causes of a greater need for electronic waste recycling?
- Greater dependence on energy and technology.
- The human progress and commoditization (for example, it is estimated that there will be a mobile phone per earth inhabitant soon) and few are the cities in the world that have neither power nor access to the Internet.
- Obsolescence of electronic devices (computers, telephones, printers, screens, televisions, household appliances, etc.), since the average lifespan of the devices is becoming shorter. Everything lasts less and less.
All this fever due to technology causes that every time there is more quantity of electrical and electronic material to recycle: electric cables, telephone cables, chargers, plugs, plugs and the list goes on.
The solution? Recycle!
Recycling brings abundant benefits, not only at an ecological level, but also at an economic level.
In the recycling of electronic waste, the most extracted materials are electric cables (for the value of copper and aluminum), but also cards, mobile phones and computers because they have some minimum amounts of gold, silver and platinum.
Wires and cable are recyclable
And cables are the main actors, since they use conductive metals of different types inside and that are protected and covered by an envelope that is usually made of plastic.
What materials can be recycled from electrical wiring?
The materials obtained are valuable. Copper, iron and aluminum are the main ones. The rest are not as valuable, as plastics that make protective layer and insulation.
What should be done to recycle electrical appliances?
In general, the final consumers of electrical and electronic equipment (televisions, appliances, computers, etc.) and many companies do not know what to do when they must recycle these devices.
The recycling of electrical and electronic equipment is a growing problem. For example, in Europe, the EU calculates that on average 17 kilograms of waste of this type of waste per inhabitant per year are discarded, and the regulatory indication is that we must ensure that they are processed correctly up to 4 kilos of material from the homes per inhabitant year.
To do this with respect and environmental care, in each country there are regulations in force that speak about the collection of legal and approved form, decontamination processes, their supervision and how to strictly comply with the regulations
Many times, companies and consumers do not know what to do with electronic waste
Having not identified containers for electrical recycling, the solution is to take it to clean points where professionals classify the material properly.
Taking these items to a clean point, we make sure that the correct treatment is done and we avoid that the material ends up as waste sent and accumulated in underdeveloped countries.
Where to throw your electronic waste and electrical cables and wires?
Being unusual objects and not knowing their danger to the environment, the most common containers are not their place. In addition, to this problem is added that more than 50% of these residues are cannibalized, that is, because of the high value of the waste due to having different types of metals, many do not reach the authorized companies that have specialized machinery to treat and dispose them correctly. In many countries they are plundered or fall into the hands of unprepared people. (There are many pirates with the desire to collect old cables that are not stored correctly or separated).
How is the collection of electrical equipment for recycling done?
The collection consists of uninstalling and dismantling the electronic equipment after its life cycle, moving the pieces and scrapping them for later decontamination. In this way we achieve a correct environmental treatment in its first phase.
In this process, the businesses are also involved, because the regulations regulate more and more the involvement of the same at the time of the responsibility to collect the old equipment.
How is electrical wiring and cables recycled?
In addition to the indications and regulations for identification and collection, the stages of this process are mechanical and includes separating the wiring from the rest of each computer or appliance gradually, until in the end you can get 99% of pure metal.
In order to separate materials correctly and with quality, state-of-the-art machinery is used, which also allows processing in high volumes.
Here you can learn about the Rollier machinery used for recycling, such as screens, feeders, conveyor belts, densimetric tables, etc.
How does the wiring recycling process start?
The recycling process begins with the gathering of the cables, their cutting and shredding. It is necessary to separate the two main materials of any cable: plastic and metal.
If the recycling machinery is optimized, a shredder is obtained that includes the plastic of the insulating plastic ready to be placed in a shredder and in the output the most crushed (ground) material comes out and then sent to a densimetric table where it is separated from the plastic and it is cast.
What is the destination of the electrical and electronic waste material once it is recycled?
The correct recycling of electrical and electronic equipment, together with its cables, allows the waste to be used perfectly for other purposes, since its maximum quality and purity is preserved at 100% in the case of, for example, copper and it can be used for other uses.
A treatment plant can be equipped with screens, feeders, tapes and tables that handle tons of material to get a high amount in the production process.
How is the recycling process?
Once the cables are collected, they are taken to the recycling plant, to be classified by types: copper and aluminum. These cables are often the result of works, old or broken cables or that are no longer used.
Then, with the help of specialized machinery, all the wiring is cut and transferred to the crushers. This process is necessary to separate the two materials that make up any cable: metal and plastic (usually).
Subsequently, they separate one from the other. The metal can be melted and thus obtain a material to be used again. Plastic accumulates for the same purpose.
What is done with it later?
The reuse of recycled copper
Copper is 100% recyclable. It does not lose any of its properties in the process. Most copper is used again to make wiring and cables, but they also have a lot of other uses such as: manufacture of pipes, construction items, engine parts, new chips, coins or winding engines.
The reuse of recycled aluminium
On the other hand, aluminium is used to make cans, caps, bags, trays, wrapping paper, building plates, printing presses, body parts, parts for engines, door knobs or again, made of cables.
The reuse of recycled plastic from cables
And, finally, depending on the type of plastic, it can be used to make clothes, packaging and various accessories (such as furniture or housing for new electrical equipment) or to make bags.