Posted on: 1 November 2017Share
When you threw out your analog signal TV fifteen years ago, did you wonder where it was going? How about that old six-pound laptop you had way back in college in the '90's? If you did not keep them, sell them, or try to give them away, they went into an electronics recycling plant. After e-waste was taking up too much room in city dumps and county landfills, laws were passed around the country that e-waste (which is not biodegradable), had to be recycled. So, where do all the parts of the old computers and the analog TVs go?
There are precious metals in old electronics. Gold, for example, is frequently used to make components inside electronics because of its conductivity. Silver and copper are also present. All of these, plus a few more, are harvested from the e-waste so that they can be reused in new electronics.
Computer screens and TV screens, even really old ones, are valuable to the glass industry. The glass can be crushed, melted down, purified, and sent to glass manufacturers everywhere. There, the glass is made into new screens, car windows, house windows, commercial windows, etc..
There is a lot of plastic in the world today, and a lot of it is in e-waste products. The plastic is pulled from the devices and sent to a plastics plant. There it is sorted by type of plastic, and then melted down before extruded and formed into other plastic items.
Non-precious metals found in old computers and old TVs include nickel, cadmium, aluminum, brass, steel, etc.. All of these are also harvested, and then sent to a metal works and/or metal recycling plant. Like the other materials harvested from e-waste, they are all turned into other products and goods for constructing other products.
In old TVs, there are some tubes containing special powders that ignite with electricity, creating noble gasses. If you recycle a TV this old, the e-waste recycling plant has to be careful about the tubes and preserving the noble gases that they find and collect. Such gases have to be stored in special tanks, something that requires a very special recycling process. The e-waste recyclers usually send these items on to a plant that can manage the extraction process. Then the glass tubes and other devices that came into contact with the gases are sent on to a glass recycling plant for disposal.