Waste management companies or consortia, public or private, are in charge of carrying out the separated collection, transportation to the recycling plant, monitoring and finally the processing of the recoverable materials in the recycling plant. They are also in charge of properly storing those materials that are not recoverable, and of carrying out the subsequent treatment of the waste.
The first step after collection is usually to take this waste to a temporary warehouse. The period in which it remains in this area is increasingly curtailed to reduce any possibility of contamination, especially of soils and aquifers, and to reduce its deterioration so that a second life can be sought for the materials contained in this waste. In this temporary storage, the electrical appliances have already been identified and separated according to both their danger and the treatment they are going to receive.
Already in the recycling plant, disassembly work is carried out, any valuable elements being extracted, while any dangerous substances are also removed. Both are selectively extracted, isolated and stored properly, again with a special emphasis on hazardous substances.
From here, both types of components follow different routes. Among the dangerous ones, some, which are generally heavy metals such as cadmium or lead, after a subsequent treatment can be reused, others such as mercury are generally stored with the maximum security measures.
Meanwhile, other valuable elements such as steel, aluminium or copper among many others, are distributed to production companies to start a new cycle, in which the role of everyone (consumer, businesses, administrations and waste management companies/entities) is vital.
Now you know the way in which an appliance can add value even after its useful life has expired. It depends on you alone to do the right thing and do your bit for the recycling chain.