Electronic waste (e-waste) consisting of cellphones, laptops, and other electronics, is now the fastest growing waste stream in the world. Just under 50 million tons of e-waste was generated in 2018, and this number is expected to increase at a rate of 4-5% annually. Without the proper use of urban mining, e-waste is sent to landfills or developing nations for disposal where it can wreak havoc on the health of local communities.
Throwing E-Waste in the Garbage
Most people won’t think twice about discarding their obsolete devices in a regular trash bin. This e-waste is collected and transported along with other trash to landfills where it is buried or processed in a waste-to-energy facility. Both of these “solutions” pose risks to our environment as e-waste contains toxic chemicals like mercury, arsenic, and bromine. These chemicals can be leached into groundwater, soil, and the air. Wild and domestic animals, plants, and crops are then affected by these hazardous waste streams.
Recycling Your E-waste
There are many facilities and organizations throughout North America and the world that recycle e-waste. Taking your old device to a recycling centre is a better option than disposing of it in the garbage—if the products are recycled responsibly. However, many companies that run these plants will ship e-waste to developing countries where there are no environmental regulations or worker protection laws.
The process to recover valuable metals from e-waste is toxic. Workers at recycling centres are often unaware of the personal dangers of burning circuit boards and do not wear any protection from the poisonous fumes. The staff inhale the chemicals as they are released into the atmosphere through this dangerous process.
Urban Mining Solutions
A reputable recycler that has a proper urban mining e-waste system, like Sepro Urban Mining’s e-waste process, will be able to dispose of and effectively recover valuable materials safely. Sepro has developed an innovative method to recover gold and other metals by working closely with experts in the e-waste recycling field. The metals recovered can be sold directly to refiners at a profit, while also being environmentally friendly.
Contact us today to learn more about Sepro’s urban mining solutions.