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Perfect options of electronic recycling
(31/08/2010 11:27:41)

Did you know that over 1.2 million tons of electronic and electrical waste is thrown away in the United Kingdom every year?  This is equal to filling the Wembley Stadium about 6 times or filling 150,000 double-decker buses! This rate is rising alarmingly every year.  mobile phones have stimulated a sense of ownership, pride and envy.  As a means of communication, mobile phones have become a necessity that can be owned by all segments of society.  The speed at which technology has developed has encouraged a need to possess and desire attractive mobile phones.  This has resulted in the fact that though they are useful and in demand, they still have expensive and short lives.  They are disposed while their functions are still useful.  This has brought about the disposal of mobile phones to the extent that it has become harmful to humans and the environment. 

In view of this, electronic recycling of mobile phones has been launched throughout the world as an alternative to the toxicity caused by dumping of mobile phones in landfills. 

As a perfect option, electronic recycling of mobile phones has been addressed by the mobile phone manufacturers who have created alternatives to recycle and refurbish the components of older mobile phones.  Electronic recycling of mobile phones takes place in recycling plants under controlled conditions that have been purpose-built.  A heat disassembly of mobile phones has been developed involving a heat-activated mechanism which is quick and cost-effective as compared to manual dismantling.  Other various options for electronic recycling, for instance the disassembly methods such as dismantling by robots, have been used.  This has resulted in the view that manufacturers have to provide information on dismantling and electronic recycling units.

In order to organise this issue, a system was created wherein websites that have disassembly information have been linked to the bar codes on mobile phones.  As a result, the system uses the information of the model type and the manufacturer on the barcode label containing the IMEI (international mobile equipment identity) number incorporated in every GSM mobile phone.  When the IMEI barcode is scanned and the IMEI number or the model is typed in, the program connects automatically to the right website that has the disassembly information.  As the electronic recycling units need this important information, it is stored in a cost-effective and functional way. 

Mobile phones are made up of many materials that include 20% trace minerals and ceramics, 40% plastics and 40% metals.  With electronic recycling these materials are dismantled and after the mobile phone is wiped clean, they are disassembled.  In the process of electronic recycling, the phones are collected and put through a memory-wiping magnetic-field.  This completely obliterates any remaining data in the mobile phone memory like dictation, pictures and contacts.  Rough separation used for various fractions has been beneficial even though the shredding method for electronic equipment would be used in the future.  The separation is still useful to close any gaps for even more materials than those being used now.  There will be an increase in recycling and a decrease in the need to mine raw materials. 

Electronic recycling of mobile phones also leverages recovery of separate metals both precious and semi-precious.  Useful metal content is extracted when the mobile components are ground.  Metal is also taken from batteries.  Plastic recovery from components is brought about when energy is derived from incineration.  The outer body comprised of plastic is granulated and reformed for mouldings.  There is downgrading of components like flash-memory devices and re-use of useful parts like battery connectors, aerials, connectors with gold-coated edge contacts on PCBs, ICs and LCD screens.  This also includes keyboards, microphones, lenses, screws, phone housings, speakers and SIM card assemblies.  Electronic recycling of mobile phones has focused on fast, cost-effective methods to save the environment, the health of people, the drinking water, plant and wildlife. 

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