Greer, in conjunction with Waste Management Sustainability Services, recently sponsored an E-Waste event at the Airbus Mobile Final Assembly Line. The event was for the benefit of the approximately 500 employees that work at the Airbus Mobile facility in observance of Earth Day. As such, Greer provided technical expertise, containers and labor for packaging, and recycling of E-Waste for the event. Additionally, we provided give-a-ways for Airbus employees that participated in the event. We are honored to have had the opportunity to participate in this beneficial event.
What is E-Waste?
E-Waste stands for “electronic waste” that can include items such as computers, monitors, televisions, cellular phones and other similar devices. With the constant advancements in technology and “disposable” nature of electronics today, e-waste recycling is a growing industry.
Electronic waste, similar to hazardous waste (see our blog post here for more information on household hazardous waste), is generated by both commercial industries and the general public. We get phone calls from the general public on a regular basis regarding what can be done with old electronics. Events such as this provides a new life for old electronics through recycling, reclamation and re-use.
What Happens to E-Waste?
Like all other wastes, E-Waste must first be properly packaged for appropriate transportation to a processing facility. Unlike other types of waste, electronics can be completely recycled which results in no components going into a landfill. This assists companies, like Airbus, achieve sustainability and “zero landfill” goals. Once received, E-Waste processing facilities will generally:
- Remove all cords – the metals inside of the cords will be reclaimed and the rest of the material will be shredded and processed at a Waste-to-Energy (WTE) facility. This WTE facility produces over 50 megawatts of clean, renewable energy per day.
- Remove batteries – the batteries are removed and sorted by chemistry. They will be sent to smelters the turn these back into commodities that are brought to market for various manufacturing companies.
- Remove glass – the glass (from monitors and televisions for example) is removed and ground down. This grounded material is then sent to a concrete facility where it is melted and then introduced into a concrete mix for use.
The remaining electronics will be disassembled and sorted by metals, plastics, etc. The circuit boards will be transferred to metals reclamation facilities where precious metals and other ferrous/non-ferrous metals are reclamined. The scrap will be shredded for Waste-to-Energy applications. Most importantly, these processes result in “Total Destruction” or “End of Life” processing where nothing enters a landfill.
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