Case Study - Recycling of Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE)

Engineered processes to recover resources in e-waste

Electronic waste is a rapidly growing part of our waste stream. Several approaches have been engineered and implemented to process this waste stream and recover the valuable and semi-valuable metals and other recyclable. A virtual tour of a Chicago e-waste recycling center was funded through a grant from the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO).

According to their company description, Sims Recycling Solutions is located in West Chicago, Illinois and is part of the largest electronics and metals recycling corporation in the world. Sims provides some repair and sales of refurbished computers, but deconstructs and recycles many thousands of tons of electronics each year using a mechanized sorting and separating system. Items with reuse potential are cleansed following the guidelines detailed by the US Department of Commerce's National Institute of Standards and Technology in Special Publication 800-88 - Guidelines for Media Sanitization. The industrial process shown in the virtual tour below is described in engineering detail in an animation and video posted by the manufacturer.