How Nokia and TES-AMM Recycles Old Mobile Phones

December 8, 2009 by  
Filed under Insights

nokia recyleGreen Business Singapore went for a site visit recently to check out how Nokia and its e-waste vendor, TES-AMM (Singapore) Pte Ltd, collects and recycles old mobile phones.

Nokia has the largest voluntary mobile phone recycling scheme worldwide, with takeback and collection facilities in over 5,000 Nokia Care Centres across 85 countries.

In Singapore, Nokia currently has collection points in all Nokia Care Centres at Wheelock Place, Century Square, Parkway Parade, Causeway Point and Suntec City. Take back facilities are also available in NUS, NTU, SMU, Nanyang Polytechnic, Temasek Polytechnic, St Margaret Secondary, St Hilda Primary and Secondary, and Saint Andrew JC.

recycle kioskIn July 2008, Nokia launched the deployment of the Nokia Recycling Kiosks (NRK), which are automated recycling kiosks, in Malaysia and Singapore. Nokia is also running the ‘Recycle A Phone & Adopt A Tree’ program in Indonesia, Singapore and Malaysia. With every phone sent for recycling, customers will receive a tree in their name planted under the NEWTrees initiative. This is a collaboration between Nokia, WWF Indonesia and Equinox Publishing, and Nokia has committed funds towards the planting of 100,000 trees in Indonesia.

In Singapore, Nokia is working with TES-AMM to recycle raw materials from the mobile phones collected. The raw materials recovery rate at TES-AMM is as high as 99%. Many different materials and precious metals can be recycled from mobile phones and made into new products, including:

  • Plastic: Plastic is largely used on the covers and external parts of a mobile device. They are turned into plastic pallets to be used in warehousing.
  • Stainless Steel: This is used on external detailing phone covers and some internal components. It can be recycled and used again in all sorts of products from mobile devices, to kitchen kettles, ovens and in bicycle frames.
  • Copper: Copper is used in a mobile phone’s circuitry and printed wiring boards. It can be recycled into copper pipes or to make musical instruments.
  • Gold: Small amounts of gold are used in a mobile phone to coat connectors and electrical surfaces. It can be recycled and used again in other mobile and electronic devices, dental fillings or to make jewellery.
  • Platinum: This is used in the electrical components of a mobile phones. It can be reclaimed and used in catalytic convertors for passenger cars, for equipment, dental filling or in jewellery.
  • Cobalt and lithium salt: These rare earth metals are recovered from recycled batteries and are re-made into lithium ion batteries.

Here are some photos taken during the site visit at TES-AMM’s recycling facility:

Mobile phone recycling

mobile phone components 1

mobile phone components 2

Manual dismantling of old mobile phones

dismantling mobile phones 1

dismantling mobile phones 2

Sorting of components

components of mobile phones 1

components of mobile phones 2

components of mobile phones 3

Crushing of circuit boards and sieving

Crushing of components

Sieving of crushed components

Ferrous metal separation

metal separation of crushed components

Crushed circuit boards

crushed components

Crushed circuit boards undergo hammer mill and electrostatic separation to get:

Fibrous powder (for making plastic pallets)

Fibrous powder

Metal powder (contains 60-70% copper)

Metal powder

Fibrous powder and other waste plastics used to make plastic pallets by heat extrusion

plastic recycling 2

Chemical processes to extract gold from components

chemical process to extract gold

chemical process to refine gold

Gold melting

gold melting 1

gold melting 2

gold melting 4

gold bar

Li-ion battery recycling

Li ion battery recycling 2

Li-ion battery recycling

Electrical and Electronic Waste Recycling

December 8, 2008 by  
Filed under Recycle

Electrical and electronic items such as televisions, refrigerators, washing machines, handphones, computers, printers, and batteries are increasingly being disposed as waste after use. These waste are also known as e-waste and they are posing an environmental problem as most of these waste products contain toxic chemicals and can affect the environment and our health if they are incinerated or landfilled.

In addition, there is also the problem of e-waste being dumped in developing countries and recycled in an unhealthy and pollutive manner. Watch this video on the problem of e-waste:

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EXzsqTFwV3Q[/youtube]

According to the National Environment Agency, about 60,000 tonnes of e-waste are generated every year in Singapore. Singaporeans are known to be big users of electrical and electronic products, thus we can imagine the significant problem of e-waste here.

Let’s take a closer look at e-waste recycling:

E-Waste Recycling in Singapore

Used electrical and electronic items are commonly sold to the karang guni men, secondhand traders and shops, or traded-in when buying the new items. The used items are refurbished and sold locally or exported overseas for reuse.

Other used electrical and electronic items, and electronic scrap from industries are also sent to local e-waste recycling facilities where precious metals such as gold and platinum are extracted, and recovered materials such as plastics are sent to local recycling companies.

Collectors, Traders and Recycling Companies for E-Waste

To find a recycling collector or someone who wants your e-waste, check out NEA’s list of collectors and traders.

For companies, you can use the online business waste exchange, Waste is not Waste, to find someone who wants your waste.

What Can I Do

First, reduce your e-waste by asking yourself whether you need to buy new stuff like IT equipment and handphones frequently. Remember to Buy and Use Only What You Need.

If you have some electrical and electronic items that you don’t want but are still in good condition, try to Give It Away or Sell for Cash before recycling them.

You can also check out NEA’s list of take back programmes for e-waste.