E-waste is a waste generated from electronic materials that become useless after certain time period. Electronic equipment are those that require the use of battery of power to get into use. Nearly everything we see around has some electronics in it but things that are mostly composed of materials that completely rely on power are considered to be electronics. Some of the examples are computers, mobile phones, calculator, laptop, television, refrigerator, etc.
All of these electronics are very common and can be found in every household. With such usage it is obvious that these goods will become obsolete and will be dumped as waste someday. The same remains are known as e-waste and have huge value in the waste market. With such huge generation of e-waste it is obvious that their business will have huge share in the global waste market.
Nearly 40% of the overall waste is considered to be generated from e-waste and this makes it clear that recycling is the only option to curb the growing menace of e-waste as they are not only non-biodegradable but also hazardous in nature.
E-waste recycling business in the last two decades has picked up pace and is doing extremely well. Anyone interested in this business can get good returns.
Worldwide Generation of E-Waste
At global level e-waste generation is at peak. In 2018, 50 million metric ton of e-waste was generated. Majority of the waste generated would be in the form of small electrical equipment. The amount of waste generated is huge and it has potential threat to the nature and environment.
Such huge generated of e-waste is also an opportunity for the recycling business to get raw material at cheap rate. Such e-waste works as raw material for the recycling industry and with processing such e-waste can be further used. It also reduced the manufacturing rat giving advantage to both the producer, seller and also the environment.
Why E-Waste Recycling is Important?
As mentioned before e-waste is a non-biodegradable waste and is also very hazardous in nature. E-waste contains chemicals, acids and materials that are very harmful for the environment and therefore their accumulation will have perverse impact on the environment. With generation of million tons of e-waste it has become a matter of great concern which is leading the world to a serious problem.
Such waste if not recycled only occupies the land for dumping and also pollutes the place where it is dumped therefore recycling it would be in the welfare of everyone. The second and important reason for recycling e-waste is that most of material that constitutes the e-waste is semi used and can be reused while making small changes.
It would be unwise to dump every part of the electronic material. Reusing ensures that the unused material is utilized which also reduces the purchase of raw material for further production and uses the recycled material for the same.
Recycling of e-waste gives good return to the business involved in recycling. The huge market for recycled good makes it favorable for recycling businesses and thus it becomes a profitable venture.
What are the Recycling Items that Come Under E-Waste Recycling?
Almost all the electronic items are covered as e-waste but some of the items are much more preferred over the rest. The reason is that some of them are easy to recycle while some have greater value as an e-waste. Some of them also have greater value after recycling. Considering these reasons e-waste covers some items that are mostly preferred. They are:
- Defective and obsolete electronic equipment
- A fragment of a discarded circuit board
- Sacks of waste phone
- 5-volt, D, C, AA, AAA, AAAA, A23, 9-volt, CR2032, and LR44 cells
- A pile of discarded TVs and computer monitors
- Old keyboards and mouse
- Other computer accessories
- Camera, DVD, MP3, clocks, flashlights
- Kitchen equipment like microwave, refrigerator, toaster,
- Calculators, Air conditioner, and other electronic items
Apart from these many more items can be included depending upon their need to recycle and the process of recycling.
Here is the profitable business plan sample for e-waste recycling business:-
Separation of Recyclable, Reusable and Refurbished Items
There’s difference between recycle, reuse and refurbish any item. While recycling a product requires much more step, reusing an item requires some small amendments and refurbishing requires similar changes with renovating the item and branding it as new. As you will collect those e-wastes, you will have to segregate different types of wastes into the three categories that have been mentioned earlier.
Waste that should be recycled should be put in one side, waste that requires refurbishing to keep at another side and lastly what can be reused should be put at one side. This segregation saves money, time, resource and after all extra effort to recycle a product that can be reused or refurbished using few steps.
Items like keyboards necessarily do not require recycling but their keys can be changed, cleaned and wires can be changed as well. With some polishing it becomes new again to be used.
Equipment for E-Waste Recycling Business
It is obvious that in order to recycle e-wastes you require different kinds of equipment. For each purpose you may need different kinds of equipment and machines that will make your work easy and will also ensure efficiency. Here are few of the equipment one may need during the recycling process.
Cirrus: It helps in segregating e-scraps from plastics and other such materials. It is a new innovation and uses high resolution NIR sensors. It also has color sensor and has all metal detector. The equipment does work efficiently and as per requirement to make the segregation work easy. Using this machine can boost up speed and make the work easier.
L-Vis: It is used as a segregator to separate different items from the whole chunk. It uses state of the art high resolution camera to do its job. It separates small particles, minerals, scraps, pellet, etc. Some of the basic features of it are: it uses color and shape in order to detect and separate each one of them. Split configuration, metal detector, statics and quality control reports, color touch screen for interaction and the choice of language makes it quite easy to operate. The machine is designed in such a way that ensures that even a novice user can use it wisely. It becomes quite easy and efficient to work on it.
Metal Sort: An induction based sensor system metal sort is used to sort out fine metal particles from the e-waste that includes glass, e-scraps, plastic flakes, etc. It is highly reliable and requires minimal expenditure on maintenance. There are different sizes available based on your requirement.
E-sort: It generates three output products from one input stream and it sorts metal, circuit boards and other special plastic resins. It has similar advantage as the rest and its use depends on the needs.
Steps Involved in E-waste Recycling Process
The process of recycling e-waste is a bit different from that of other wastes. Here the meaning recycling is not fully recycling a product but it is more about segregating an item in various respective parts and then selling it to the manufacturer. The money that a recycler earns is based on work he does which mostly includes breaking down of complex parts into different specific items and then carefully separating it from one other and then selling it as raw material for further usage.
Like most electronics stop working within few years but it is not necessary that the parts of those electronics will also stop working. Such parts are retrieved from the electronics and is then sold. The whole process of e-waste recycling is mentioned here.
Picking is the process of collecting e-waste items at one place then some of the components of those electronics are removed which are not to be recycled like wooden part, plastics, batteries, etc.
It is the process of breaking down of large parts of e-waste into small parts. The process goes in steps where the first steps breaks the components into 10 times smaller size and the next step further reduces the size to an extent that it can be segregated further. It is also ensure that the important components that will form the value of the waste doesn’t suffers any harm.
Items that are made from steel and iron are removed using magnet. The magnetic mostly is an electronic magnet which has strong magnetic force.
Metallic and Non Metallic Separation:
Through eddy currents, optical identification and magnets, metallic and non-metallic items are separated. Brass, copper, aluminum and other such metals are also removed using such methods.
Separation by Water:
Plastic and glass materials are segregated using water which also removes other sticky materials. Lead containing items are sent for further cleaning and the lead obtained is used to manufacture batteries. Plastic that is collected is used for recycling and manufacturing other products.
Other items of electronics are grounded up, melted and used. Gases from such items are collected for further usage. Metals are mostly sold as raw materials unless some of them have specific usage.
The CRT Recycling Process:
CRT screens also known as cathode ray tube is a monitor mostly used in computers for display purpose. They contain certain amounts of lead and other toxic elements that have severe impact on the health and environment and therefore they must be recycled. Recycling a CRT screen is quite different from recycling any other electronic item and therefore we must follow different process. Here it goes.
Cathode Ray Tube and Monitor Body Separated: The monitor screen and other such parts must be removed from CRT in order to recycle them further. The screen components based on what material they are made up from can be sent to recycling while the CRT is retained.
Reducing Size: The CRT tubes and screens are shredded into small pieces and the glass pieces and dust are removed using ecofriendly methods.
Metal Removal: It involves two steps. In the first step magnet is used in order to remove steel and iron while in the second step, eddy currents are used to remove aluminum, copper and brass materials present in the parts broken due to shredding.
Washing: Any remaining small particles, oxides, phosphates are removed by washing to ensure that only glass particles are left.
Glass Sorting: Glass is sorted in two parts. The first is glass that doesn’t contains lead while the other one contains lead. The one with lead in it is sent where lead is melted and is used for further purpose like manufacturing batteries and on the other hand the plain glass is used to manufacture screen and other parts thereof.
The best way to carry out the process is to use the closed system of recycling where once after putting the material waste inside, the final product to be sold for recycling is available. This ensures minimal human and natural interference reducing health problems and environmental problems.
Steps Involved in Starting an E-waste Recycling Business
After understanding the process of e-waste recycling one can go ahead with the business process. Some of the common steps that are involved in starting a business includes planning, investment, documentation and official formalities, resources and utilities, selection of work space, profit, etc.
Making a Strategy and Business Plan
The first step involves making a strategy for your business. Carry out a feasibility analysis test by a professional and make a business plan. Both of these things will help you while setting up your business.
Selecting the Location of your Business
A recycling business requires a good space where you will install your recycling plant. With better planning you can reduce the space of your recycling plant but still you need ample amount of space.
The best location for you would be the outskirt of your city since the permission to install a recycling plant is generally not given amidst the city premises and also such location is extremely costly. To minimize your expenditure you can lease it.
Before you go ahead for finalizing the location, get approval from the concerned authorities since such businesses follow stricter norms.
Registering your Business and Licensing
Registering your business requires permission, documents and licensing. While registering you will also be required to show your business plan. Therefore get a business plan made based on the research you have made for your business.
As you get registered you will also get registration number from where you can become a tax payer. Since e-waste recycling impacts environment and the product quality is also an issue, you will be required to get license for carrying out the recycling work.
As you have done the feasibility analysis for your business and would have also prepared a business plan you would have got an idea how much of amount is required to start your business.
It also depends on the location of your business, size of your business, type of recycling plant, resources used, equipment whether purchased or leases, scale of your production and sale, etc. It is obvious that where land is used the investment increases and therefore you should arrange good sum for investment. The best option is to take a loan from the bank.
Staff and Manpower
In a recycling plant you will require a team of people who will carry out all the work related to your recycling business. Some will be accountants, managers, advisors, supervisors, manual labors, technicians and engineers. Select a team for yourself which you feel will do the job for you in an efficient way.
Since you would be new in business it is important to have advisors who can guide you about how to carry out the recycling business and at the same time you need to have limited workforce to avoid extra expenditure. Try to hire staffs that are multitalented and know more than one job. You can also train few of them and can increase their pay significantly.
Return on Investment and Profit Margin in E-Waste Recycling Business
It would be immature to assume that you will start making profit from the day your business commences. It requires time to build your business. With an investment that will go in millions one should be smart about making returns. The changing market requires innovation and smart business policies.
Your goods are not only recycled goods but it should be more like finished goods. A bit of value addition maximizes the profit you make. While it is obvious to sell such recycled products to the manufacturing companies. Metal goods that are retained can me melted on own and can be used to manufacture some useful items.
Lead retrieved from the e-waste can be used in manufacturing batteries. Many other e-waste items can be used with small changes, modification and amendment. These items after renovation can be sold in the market directly thus increasing the value of the product by 40-50%. Such value addition always adds profit to your returns and can increase your return on investment.
Items Made From E-waste Materials
There are various items that are made from e-waste materials after going through the process of recycling. Some of the products are:
- ECO-FASHION NECKLACES AND EARRINGS
- PIECES OF ART
- BILL BOARDS
- BIO GROW DEVICES
- CUFFLINKS AND PINS
Apart from these there are many more items that one can make from these wastes. It requires a creative mind along with innovation and resources. Such items mentioned above can be sold directly in the market giving good profit.