Where Gadgets Go to Die: Facility Strips, Rips and Recycles

Recently, the Environmental Protection Agency came under fire for allowing U.S. tech companies to export millions of pounds of hazardous, used electronics to Asian countries where they are recycling with a lot less environmental oversight.

Negative press, new e-waste legislation and a depressed economy are pressuring tech manufacturers into assuming far greater recycling responsibly to show they’re part of the green movement. As a bonus, domestic recycling lets them save some money on materials, such as precious metals, while they’re at it. Manufacturers who handle recycling responsibly in the United States work with professional facilities like this one, where old gadgets are dismantled using a part-man, part-mechanical process.

With 15 locations in the United States, Sims Recycling Solutions is one of the world’s largest electronics scrap recyclers. Pictured here is the “demanufacturing” center of the company’s Roseville, California facility, where workers disassemble everything from printers, cameras and computers to Jumbotrons for their reusable materials. The facility receives roughly 150,000 pounds of used electronics a day.

Follow along for a photographic tour of the Sims facility, where you’ll learn exactly what happens to unwanted gadgets as they’re dismantled, their components sorted and their raw materials melted down for scrap.

This is a great, but long, article about electronics recycling from Wired magazine. I hope my old MACs found their way here. I will sleep better tonight. Thanks to Jamie Roberts for the link.

NP NowPublic

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