Appliances, electronics, gadgets and all those other miscellaneous gizmos we have in our homes will all eventually become obsoleste, broken or simply unwanted. When that day comes, there is a way to recycle them.
10 months ago, a province wide computer and TV recycling program was launched. Since then, the city of Nanaimo has been diverting over 12 metric tons per week of waste TV's and old computer systems. The program has been very successful and lots of people, businesses and organizations have been taking full advantage of the Electronics Recycling Program.
However, often there is a dead microwave, VCR, toaster, stereo, or even a washer and dryer that continues to sit somewhere in our homes, coffee room or storage area. What can be done with this material? Lots.
This category of waste materials all has a common element of construction, metal. Granted, they may not be 100% metal like the tin can or pie plate. But there is a high enough metal content within them that makes it a valuable recyclable item.
The Landfill and the NRE will accept these items for metal recycling. The electronics are shredded in a large hammer mill and then shipped for smelting. In a controlled environment, these items are heated and the metals are extracted for reuse. The bits of plastic and other non-metal contaminants are incinerated and act as an additional fuel source for the overall smelting process.
My personal take on incineration is that I would rather recycle a given item rather than burn it up and loose it forever. The extraction of new or virgin raw materials from the ground places a greater strain on the environment than processing already available materials, like plastics.
So, when people can take the time to remove plastic from such electronic gadgets, the plastic can then be saved for reuse in a plastics recycling stream. The important thing to remember is that for plastic recycling to work, all metal screws and other non-plastic materials must be removed as these contaminants can really disrupt the plastic shredding process.