Launch of information platform encouraging manual disassembly of electronic waste

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Recyclers to benefit from increased safety and efficiency of electronics recycling

The Recycler Information Center (RIC) is a free online platform with safe, fast and efficient procedures for recycling common devices and appliances. The improved access to product information and best practices is expected to lead to safer and more efficient treatment of electronic waste. The RIC is accessible at www.werecycle.eu.

Snapshot of the RIC containing handling information for various disassembly fractions

Recycling of electronic devices relies on proper separation of different fractions prior to mechanical shredding. Components like LCD panels or mercury switches require separation to avoid exposing workers to hazardous substances—including mercury vapour, lead dust, and flame retardants.

Mechanical separation is neither easy nor riskfree. Manual separation can be sped up and safety hazards can be contained by providing technicians with disassembly instructions. The RIC contains almost 4000 disassembly procedures, both for generic product categories and specific product models. Faster disassembly opens the door for additional opportunities, such as more cost-effective harvesting of components.

Improved fraction separation not only mitigates safety hazards, but also leads to a higher quality of recycled fractions. The RIC platform contains information on how to further treat the main disassembly fractions, combined with safe handling practices and information on the presence of hazardous substances.

By providing this information in a centralized manner, the platform is well-suited to serve as a source of best practices in trainings on the proper handling of e-waste,  particularly for recyclers in the process of setting up or optimizing a manual e-waste treatment facility.

The RIC is developed by DRZ Wien, Fraunhofer IZM, and iFixit in the CloseWEEE project aimed at improving technology and procedures for end-of-life treatment of electrical and electronic waste. The project is funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 programme.

All interested parties are kindly invited to contact maarten.depypere@ifixit.com or katharina.lenz@vhs.at for further information.

A collection of printers and computers stored prior to recycling.

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