Thursday, 10 October 2013

E-waste Recycling Saves Energy

Have you ever considered the benefits of recycling your mobile phone, PC, or tablet? We all know that electronic devices contain a range of valuable materials, including rare earths and precious metals, but did you know that recycling e-waste also saves huge amounts of energy?

According to the US Environmental Protection Agency, if the 100 million mobiles that are discarded every year around the world were recycled, the power saved would be enough to satisfy the energy needs of 18,500 households. Unfortunately, only a very small portion of is actually recycled.

With regard to laptops, recycling one million devices would save energy equivalent to almost 3,700 households annually, EPA figures also revealed.

Recycling e-waste also saves energy in its own right, as a process for making secondary raw materials. According to figures of Australian e-waste collector and recycler 1800eWaste, the recovery of steel, for example, takes up 74% less energy than the initial extraction of the metal from ore. The recovery of aluminium takes up 95% less energy, while the recovery of copper takes 85% less. Recycling lead uses 65% less energy than the initial extraction process, and the recycling of plastics uses 80% less power than its initial production.

With all this said, it needs reminding that many recyclable components are considered hazardous as they contain toxic chemicals, such as lead. With 20 to 50 metric tonnes of e-waste dumped into landfills every year, things start to look quite grim. Recycling, however, removes this health hazard from the environment and it does so in an energy-efficient way.

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