Which Electronic Waste Can Be Recycled For Copper

Author:Suny Group

Technology changes rapidly, resulting in fast growing of e-waste surplus. E-waste includes broken, unusable and discarded computers, mobile phones, digital cameras, DVD players, stereo systems, printers, fax machines, televisions, refrigerators, microwaves-almost anything with a cord. The lifespan of a mobile phone is only between eighteen months and two years, although it is probably capable of working 10-15 years.

E-waste contains valuable and scarce materials that can be recycled. Copper is one of the substances that exist in large quantities in e-waste. From 14 tonnes of electronic waste, we could get one tonne of copper, but by underground mining for the same amount of copper we shall use 80,000 tonnes of raw material.

Which Electronic Waste Can Be Recycled For Copper?

Printed Circuit Board (PCB)

Printed circuit board, or PCB, are present in almost all types of electronic waste, including cellphones, computers, TVs, DVD players, printers and calculators. PCBs contain copper and other precious metal such as gold, silver and palladium,among them copper has the highest content, available in 10 to 30 %.

There are three ways to recover copper, pyro-metallurgically, hydro-metallurgically, and bio-hydro-metallurgically.

Cathode Ray Tube (CRT)

CRT, or cathode ray tube, are commonly used in TV or Computer Monitors. The yoke that surrounds the CRT tube is made up of copper. It is an electromagnet that deflects the electrons to the proper position on the panel. Larger tubes require larger yokes.

To get the copper coil, just unscrew all Phillips-head screws from the back of the monitor and pry the back cover off, then use a pair of wire cutters to cut the coil off the neck of the CRT.

Refrigeration & Air Conditioning

An average refrigerator contains about 2 Kg of copper, while average size of air conditioner contains about 6.8kg of copper per unit.

The copper aluminum radiator in the air conditioner can be recycled by radiator recycling machine. For 1 or 2 layers you just cut the iron piece off using a bandsaw, and then put the radiator into the machine, within seconds the copper pipe and aluminum foil will come out in the opposite side separately. There is no damage to the copper pipe, so that you have no profit loss. Every eight hours 3tons can be processed.


Wire is commonly seen in electronic waste. It connects to a household wall socket through a power cord or charger. In desktop computers and older audio and video equipment, internal wiring is common.