According to Science Daily magazine, around 50 million tonnes of e-waste are produced annually worldwide, and only 20% of this is recycled. Most of the remaining 80% goes to landfill, where it becomes a serious environmental problem. It is estimated that this is equivalent to sending 125,000 jumbo jet planes to landfill each year.1
Electronics is full of valuable materials, including copper, tin, iron, aluminium, fossil fuels, titanium, gold and silver. Recycling e-waste allows us to recover many valuable metals and other materials from electronics, saving natural resources such as water and energy, reducing pollution, saving space in landfills and creating jobs. Recycling of electronic waste is now an essential process for recovering material from old equipment for use in new products. Many logistics packaging is involved in this complex process.
#1 The first stage is the collection and transport of waste, using pallets and containers
Take-back and transport are two of the initial stages of the recycling process, including e-waste. Recyclers place waste bins or collection points for electronics at specific points and transport the collected waste from these points to recycling facilities.
In the treatment of electronic waste, extreme care must be taken to avoid damage and potential release of hazardous substances. Proper packaging can also reduce the costs of transporting used equipment by improving the transport of bulky items and combining large quantities of small products together.
What else gives you the choice of the right logistics packaging?
Limits glass breakage, cathode ray tubes (CRT) and other components;
- Maximum use of transport space;
- Improves handling and prevents injuries;
- Easy and quicker material processing once it reaches its destination.
The best method of handling many pieces of large electronic devices is to place them on pallets. Wooden pallets are extremely economical and easy to repair, what is more, having a large stock of unused pallets in stock from various waste suppliers, you can sell them. In Rotom we offer the service Buyout of Packaging, which allows you get rid of unwanted packaging and you can use the obtained funds for other investments.
The advantage of wooden pallets is that they are easy to repair and maintain. In order to protect the electronic waste sent out from additional damage, it can be wrapped around the pallet, especially if it is a bulky device, such as desktop units, laptops, monitors, TVs, printers, copiers, fax machines or other multifunctional devices. When using pallets, make sure that the items are firmly seated on the pallet and tightly wrapped in a shrink-wrap from base to top.
All smaller peripheral devices (keyboards, mice, etc.) should be packed separately in containers, e.g. standardised plastic containers or Pallet Collars. They are applied to the pallet in the corresponding size, they are easy to transport and after emptying the products, they can be folded, so they do not take up space for return transport.
You have to remember not to mix different types of electronics on one pallet already during the packaging process. In the same layer there should be equipment of similar or the same size, e.g. monitors or central units packed together.
#2 This stage is sorting and storing using Gitterboxes and mesh containers
In the second phase, the electronic devices are dismantled and the components are sorted. Once the electronics are taken and transported to the recycling centre, then the materials in the e-waste stream must be processed and divided into clean goods that can be used to produce new products. Effective material sorting is the basis for electronic recycling.
Often, the storage of large products that are waiting to be recycled are heavy in their weight. Gitterbox metal stillages and metal boxes are made of solid mesh, so they perfectly protect the transported goods and enable stacking, i.e. stacking of pallets or containers on top of each other. This saves a lot of storage space.
The wire metal containers and Metal Pallet Collars are also an indispensable element of every warehouse. The main advantage of using metal pallet collars for storage transport is their durability. Metal is usually much stronger than plastic or other materials. Metal boxes often have a reinforced construction, so you can protect your goods. Metal extensions have standard pallet dimensions so they can easily adapt to the supply chain and can also be stacked.
The Wire Mesh Containers, on the other hand, help to make maximum use of the storage space thanks to their folding function. You can use the metal mesh containers for long-term storage and transfer of your stock of recovered products.Because these containers are made of metal mesh, you can always easily check the contents of the container without opening it. The customer will then know immediately if the contents have not been damaged. This increases transparency throughout the supply chain.
#3 The stage is shredding, sorting and separation - plastic containers and boxes
Further processing can include various crushing and sorting processes for material with magnets, screens and eddy currents. A smelting process is used to release precious metals from electronic components. New processes are currently being tested to facilitate the recovery of gold from old computers and other electronic devices, with a lower environmental impact. A solution is used - acetic acid in combination with very small amounts of oxidant and other acid, which according to scientists dissolves gold at the fastest rate known so far. An interesting fact may be that e.g. Apple informed in April 2016 that in the previous year it recovered 999.51kg of gold worth $40 million.
The shredding of electronic waste facilitates the sorting and separation of plastics from metals and internal circuits. The waste is shredded into pieces often as small as 100mm to prepare for further sorting. Each separated type of material must have its own appropriate distribution and storage location.
In modern electronic waste recycling plants, plastic pallet boxes on skids work very well because they work perfectly in automated storage systems. In places where the load has to be transported, plastic crates work well, facilitating the handling of heavy loads.
In the process of product separation, a strong overhead magnet separates iron and steel from the waste stream on the conveyor and then prepares them for sale as recycled steel. Further machining separates aluminium, copper and printed circuit boards from the material stream, which is currently mainly plastic.
Water separation technology is then used to separate glass from plastics. Depending on the application, you need to select the container that best meets your needs. Where there is a wet environment because the water jet purifies waste, plastic containers and plastic crates are best suited. Easy to keep clean and convenient to sort waste, they work well in difficult industrial conditions.
Plastic Pallet Boxes on castors or skids are ideal for sorting products and can be easily stacked and transported with forklift trucks. The pallet boxes on wheels are easy to move by hand, especially for medium loads. If you are looking for an economical and space-saving storage solution, plastic pallet boxes on feet or skids are the ideal choice.
For storage of already prepared raw materials, strong Magnum pallet boxes with dimensions of 1200 x 800 x 975mm are ideal. This type of pallet box is foldable and has integrated side walls. A full base with drainage holes and 2 flaps on the longer and shorter side allow access to the product and stacking. The wall folding function saves a lot of space and costs in transport and storage, it is possible to reduce up to 57% of the box volume. The folding plastic box is injection-moulded from high quality polypropylene (HDPE), so it can be used in many warehouse applications. It is a technologically advanced product that is ideal for long-term rental.
The Magnum boxes can be a storage solution for e.g. fluorescent lamps in waste recycling according to the EU directive WEEE (Waste Electrical & Electronic Equipment). It is important that they are not mixed, according to new regulations from January 2015 which indicate that e.g. batteries, lamps, electrical and electronic waste cannot be mixed in the same container.
Buy or rent?
If you need to use the above mentioned packaging, but you are not wanting to bear the cost of purchasing it immediately, you can use the packaging rental service. This is a very advantageous solution because you will receive the rented products very quickly, at the right place and time. You only pay for the period when the packaging is in use. What is more, you are assured of high quality packaging that is carefully selected, durable and efficient.
If you had any questions about the beneficial rental options for boxes of pallets, pallets or metal containers, we are at your disposal. We also offer favourable prices if you buy more products. Our specialists will help you choose the type of packaging that will help you to develop your business in a sustainable and economical way.