The International Technology Group (ITG) Plant for Recycling Electronic Waste recycled 450 tonnes of electronic waste in 2015, according to the plant’s manager Ahmed Salem, who added that this year the plant aims to recycle 500 tonnes.
Salem told Daily News Egypt that the factory is conducting experiments on chemical separation, which will extract precious minerals throughout the recycling process. He added that the experiments have been showing positive results and that the factory is expecting to reach economically feasible methods by early next year.
Based on earlier statistics, the world produced 50m tonnes of electronic waste, of which only 15m tonnes are disposed of properly. The local market produces some 50,000 tonnes per year. This waste may contain valuable metals, and loses at least 75% of its economic value when disposed of improperly. Moreover, the waste can have dangerous impacts on humans and can lead to respiratory diseases, cancer, and infertility.
Recycling of electronic waste begins with collecting and categorising the waste, such as mobiles, cables, and printers. The waste is then taken apart by a number of workers, who separate the main pieces. Batteries, containing mercury and lead, are put aside, away from all other waste, where they can be shipped to an international company that recycles them. Finally, the remaining waste is ground into smaller pieces that are sorted based on density such that metals are separated from fibres and plastics.
The results are then put into a pressure unit, which absorbs all of the dust. This step is followed by a final filtering through a sieve in which metals are extracted from non-metal waste.
ITG earmarked EGP 100m of investments for recycling, and has spent EGP 30m until now. The company aims to expand by implementing a chemical separation process, which is expected to acquire investments of €5m, or approximately EGP 50m.