Despite the fact that each category of e-waste is processed in specialist plants, the cycle always starts with:
Step 1: depollution
To prevent harmful substances and components (such as batteries, oil, cartridges, asbestos, mercury, CFCs, etc.) from ending up in the environment, these substances are first extracted. Fixed parts are dismantled or simply removed, liquids are collected or drained.
Step 2: raw materials
Step 1 is followed by reducing the size of equipment in a mill (shredder), the first step to recover raw materials. Pieces of composite materials then find their way via various separation techniques. A magnet is used to detect the iron, an ‘Eddy Current‘’ separates plastics from non-ferrous metals, extractors that suck up light materials (such as PUR from refrigerators), specialist techniques to recover mercury from LCD screens, for example. High-grade materials also pass through other specialist density techniques to extract non-ferrous and precious metals from residual plastic.
Coolrec has an average recycling rate of 95% (!). This is a much higher rate than prescribed by the WEEE directives.
New products from ‘old’ materials
All recovered materials are ultimately used for the manufacturing of new products. Iron and non-ferrous metals such as aluminium and copper generally go directly to smelters. Coolrec has sufficient critical mass, which ensures that we also have robust contracts with buyers. In cooperation with Renewi, Coolrec delivers so much iron to the automotive industry, that it can produce 45,000 passenger vehicles per year.
Recovered plastic is sent to our plastics recycling company Coolrec Plastics in Waalwijk. That is where composite plastics are pulled apart with various techniques. Plastics such as polyethylene (PE), polypropylene (PP), polystyrene (PS), high-impact polystyrene (HIPS), and acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) are purified in this way. This graded plastic is ready for sale or further internal processing.
The graded plastic at Coolrec Plastics is sold to third parties or transported to our site in Emmen to be upcycled. In Emmen we ensure that the materials meet the requirements specified by the customer. The (re)granulate can now be used for the production of new products.