At Optisort we are kicking off the new year by entering a new market segment: sorting of E-waste. We admit it doesn’t appear that different from sorting batteries, which is also why think it’s a natural next step.
E-waste is booming. Unfortunately. Product cycles in the electronics industry just become shorter and shorter. The stuff is so cheap and has become so small that it can be found in products we never would have thought of. Or did you expect to find electronics in a wallpaper or in shoes? This also causes a tremendous increase in waste. According to a new study from IDC the amount of collected and processed E-waste only in the US incresed from 600,000 tonnes in 2002 to 3.5M tonnes in 2010 – that’s almost a 500 per cent growth in 8 years. In Europe we estimate that the amount of E-waste will reach 12 M tonnes in 2020. Did anybody say Asia?
Optical sorters for E-waste have been around for quite some time. But normally sorting is done post-schredding. By using NIR or RGB sensors recyclers can differentiate crushed plastics from metals and sort it, normally using air jets.
Optisort’s approach is to sort pre-shredding. With our technology it’s possible to separate light sources from alarm clocks, cell phones from mp3-players and so fourth. By doing that it can (although in rare cases) become profitable enough to dismantle the material manually, which results in a higher recovery yield, or (more likely) enbable shredding of single-material batches.
Our first E-waste sorter is taking care of small electronics. In a joint project with Philips Lighting, Stena Technoworld, Chalmers Industriteknik Recycling, Barco and others we are aiming for a sorter that will be able to sort out LED lamps from an ordinary stream of E-waste. For other applications we would be happy to partner with recyclers, electronics manufacturers or compliance schemes. If you are interested, give Hans Eric a call at +46 733 800 371 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org