Itronics has installed and started up an e-waste shredder, mounted on a portable base, that is being used to shred computer circuit boards and stripped metal computer towers as part of the company’s e-waste recycling feasibility study.
The shredder has the capacity to shred 1,800 pounds of computer circuit boards per hour and can shred 1,200 pounds of stripped computer towers per hour. The company estimates that the cost for a shredder of similar capability would be in excess of $35,000 plus installation, making this a major working asset for the company’s refining operation.
The shredder will be used initially to shred batches of computer circuit boards that will be used as refining feed. Aluminum hard disks recovered from computer hard drives will be shredded and consumed in the refining process, thereby ensuring secure hard drive destruction while recovering the tiny amounts of precious metals in these disks.
Review of the published literature on precious metals content of computer circuit boards indicates that the company’s refining process should be able to recover silver, gold, and palladium contained in the circuit boards. The first shipment of bullion containing a small amount of silver, gold, and palladium recovered from the shredded circuit boards is planned for early August.
Less than one-sixth of last year’s e-waste is thought to have been diverted to proper recycling and reuse, according to a UN study, which says global e-waste topped 41.8 million metric tons of electrical and electronic products in 2014.