Steel is still one of the most applied materials in electronic devices. Especially in large domestic appliances like washing machines or electric stoves as well as computer cases, and for fittings carriers or bolted connections iron is deployed. The process technology used by Electrocycling generates high-quality steel scrap fractions that can be applied directly in to the steel smelter making processes. Through the direct application of this secondary resource the energy-intensive mining of iron ores as primary resources can be given up.
Aluminum, a light metal, is applied in profiles, cases, cooling elements or in complex castings. Because of our installed facilities and competent staff members, Electrocycling is able to produce high-quality aluminum granulates out of old electronic devices. We segregate genuine aluminum parts after every shredding level and sell this secondary aluminum to aluminum melting plants. Secondarily extracted aluminum means saving energy because the demand of energy for the recycling of aluminum is up to 95% lower than the demand of energy for the extraction of aluminum as a primary resource.
The extraction of aluminum from primary sources still belongs to the processes that can cause heavy environmental pollution. It requires a great deal of energy and material and the emission of harmful substances is extensive. For the production of one ton of aluminum, 4-5 tons of bauxite are necessary. The exploitation of bauxite damages the landscape. In the next process step red mud accrues which has to be landfilled. It is estimated that one ton of primary aluminum sets free 1.6 tons of CO2 and one additional ton of CO2 equivalents through perfluorocarbons.
Copper and other non-iron and precious metals
Copper is one of the most important materials in electronic devices. It is applied in electric wires, coils, in engines or in printed circuit boards. On average you can find 14 times more copper in one ton of old electronic devices than in one ton of copper ores that are targets of exploitation. In electronic devices precious metals like gold, silver and palladium can be found as well. These metals are indispensable for the functionality of high-quality electronic devices. Although single devices offer only fractions of grams of precious metals, the quantity of precious metals in old electronic devices is on average higher than the values that are applied in primary mining. In this case, recycling can contribute extensively to the reduction of environmental pollution.
In our processing there is a copper concentrate generated that contains about 60% of copper and other metals like nickel, plumb and tin. In this concentrate the precious metals are also enriched significantly. The concentrate is delivered to copper smelters where it will be melted. After expensive pyrometallurgical and hydrometallurgical processes highly purified copper, gold, silver and palladium become available. These metals will be reused for the production of new devices.