What happens to broken Laptop when it is Recycled?

Photo by Gary Chan on Unsplash

Have you ever wondered what happens to that piece of tech that you gave up for recycling? Well, I have, and after some research, I found out the process is actually quite fascinating. Let us check out how it is done, shall we?


Main steps in the recycling process:
  • Sorting and Transportation

  • Dismantling

  • Meltdown

  • Eliminating hazard

  • Shredding

  • Reuse

Sorting and Transportation

After you take your damaged or old electronic to a recyclable items collection center or recycle bin. The Regional recycling sorts the electronics into portions, then transport them to a recycling plant.


The workers at the plant break up the electronics into different components by hand to ensure essential categorization.


The separated components are broken down into their raw forms like glass, plastic, and precious metals such as gold and aluminum.


Some materials like Mercury and Lead are considered dangerous to the environment and human health. These materials are specially handled to ensure the safety of the workers and the environment.

Cathode ray tubes (CRT) found in older CRT screens have Phosphorus which are considered as hazardous. The Phosphorus coating is removed before the tubes are processed for recycling.


The bulk of the electronic components that have been separated into units are put through huge shredding machines, before going through another separation process.


The metals are melted down after separation and refined to improve their quality.


These broken down and refined commodities are sent back into the manufacturing chain as raw materials. The materials are then made into a variety of new products.

Why should I recycle my electronics?

E-waste is the term used to describe electronic devices that have reached the end of their useful life. This includes a bunch of electronic products from a computer processing unit (CPUs) to small smartphones. When E-wastes are not recycled properly, they have a terrible effect on the environment and human beings too. This is why it is important to dispose of your E-wasted to an R2 certified recycling facility.

Most electronics, including computers, contain elements and materials that are toxic to humans and the environment when accumulated in large quantities. These toxic materials include Lead, Zinc, Nickel, Flame retardants, Barium, and Chromium. Lead is the big bad wolf that has been known to cause damage to the kidneys, blood, and the nervous system of humans when released into the environment.

Also, when these E-wastes get hot, they release chemicals into the air that destroys the ozone layer.

What can I do to help?

You shouldn’t just give your E-waste to just any recycling facility. Many electronics recycling companies do not dispose of those products properly. Some of them ship these items to developing countries and sell them as scrap, or do the recycling in their countries. This causes dangerous chemicals to be piled up in countries that have no means of disposing of them properly.

Therefore, you should make sure the recycling facility you choose is R2 certified for proper recycling and disposal. These recyclers do not dump their products in different countries; they treat them properly.

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