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Making Best Use Of E-waste

By Author: Bala P
Total Articles: 1

Malaysia is one country where sales of electronic goods are in the rise. People from neighbouring countries throng to Malaysia to buy fancy electronic goods, but this practice over the years has led to the formation of E-Wastes and stands as a threat to the living environment. Thanks to the e-waste facilities that have been keeping a check over the rise of e-wastes.

Globalization has led to vast development in various regions allover the world. As the population grows, the ways of making life simple also grows up gradually. In the verge of making life simple, someone somewhere would come up with some technologies or device. The best example of this fact would be portable fans in four wheelers and portable night lamps. Nowadays we even get to see in the USB. But most of these devices and equipment come up with a shorter lifetime and they never last for even a year or in some cases months.

An average consumer would always end up putting it in the trash bin and these accounts for scrap. We tend to understand that these would actually decompose in due course of time, but they actually do not. Rather they get recycled and come to us again in the form of use and throw materials.

But recycling scrap is not a simple process. They go through a process. As handling e-wastes through uninformed channels could be hazardous to the environment and cause the release of CFC gases causing ozone layer depletion.

Sorting
The first thing is sorting out the devices and equipment separately. E-wastes could be any electronic device which I as huge as a television and that is as small as a computer chip or even a microprocessor. So the first step is sorting out all these manually.

Dismantling/Reassembling
While sorting involves separating different devices, dismantling involves reassembling the devices. Every device is made up of components like a motor, coil, battery, chip and a lot more. This is again an intensive process with manpower involved.

First Size Reduction Process
Dismantling could be impossible in certain cases i.e. if a component is inbuilt in the device. So these are pressed hard and shredded to pieces less than 2 inches in diameter. By the end of this process, they become finer e-waste pieces.

Second Size Reduction Process
Now these finer e-waste pieces go through an automated shaking process on a conveyor belt. As these pieces are well spread, they are broken down even more to pieces. They also undergo a dust extraction process.

Over Band Magnetic Separation
Any metal or iron particles present in the e-waste pieces are removed in this process. These particles are of no use after the reduction process. Hence removing them becomes a necessity. They would sold as raw material to scrap seekers.

Metallic & Non-metallic Components Separation
Separating the metallic components such as copper, aluminium and brass leaves only the non-metallic components such as fiber, plastic, glass… behind. So the segregated metallic components are also sold as raw materials to steel and metal manufacturers.

Water Separation
The final step involves a water wash to segregate all the non-metallic components such as fiber, plastic, glass… that are again sent to relevant manufacturers who would use to make new components out of it.

Regulatory Framework
Malaysia is among the very few countries that have come up with a legal framework to regulate e-waste management from generation to disposal. Currently, e-waste management is planned for six devices and they are television, refrigerator, washing machine, air conditioning unit, personal computer and mobile phone.

In 2012 alone, the amount of e-waste generation in Malaysia was between 10 percent and 15 percent of the total generated scheduled waste. Products getting outdated in a very short span of time are considered as the reason why Malaysia is producing more amount of e-waste. Hence even the hazardous waste management programme implemented in 1989 was not effective to combat the same.

But luckily, unlike other countries Malaysia allows e waste recycling through licensed facilities. As on February 2013, Malaysia had 18 full and over 120 partial recovery facilities for e-waste management. In due course of time, these facilities are expected to handle even hazardous materials.

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