E-waste – Facts and benefits

When e-waste is poorly managed, it results in groundwater contamination and air pollution, and can have implications for human health

Recycling e-waste conserves the use of natural resources, prevents toxic chemicals from being released into the atmosphere and aids energy conservation efforts


Globally, millions of tons of e-waste are generated every year

E-waste includes household appliances such as microwaves, remote controls, TVs, monitors, computers, laptops and anything that is electronic


Recycling one million laptops saves enough energy to power over 3000 homes for a year


Approximately 70% of heavy metals in landfills are the result of e-waste


In South Africa, approximately 10% of e-waste is recycled

30 000

1 light bulb disposed of in a landfill can potentially pollute 30 000 litres of water

E-waste Recycling Process

Picking: E-waste is placed on a conveyor belt and sorted according to categories by hand. During this process, batteries are extracted and undergo a separate recycling process as they contain acid and heavy metals, which require
specific, standalone treatments

E-waste is then dismantled manually and sorted into two categories: parts that can be reused (these parts are then sold for reuse) and parts to be shredded for recycling

Shredding: The parts earmarked for recycling are shredded into fragments of approximately 100 mm in diameter

Separation: Metal fragments are separated from the rest of the fragments using a magnet

Water Separation: Plastic and glass fragments are separated using water as plastic fragments float in water while glass fragments sink to a lower level due to difference in density

Metal, plastic and glass fragments are then sold as raw material to be reused for
manufacturing purposes