Unfortunately the answer is no. There are so many different types of materials in so many combinations, or mixed with different compounds that to know what, how and where to disassemble them is best left to the expert. A number of these materials can even harm you if you’re not properly protected. Some materials are worth pulling out, like precious metals including gold, copper and others and some are worthless but need to be disposed of properly nonetheless.
Bad Recycling Methods for Electronics
Most people can tear down devices like a computer. It’s not hard to disassemble the parts but when you get down to the components, it takes an expert to know what materials are where, what is safe to handle, or what protection is needed and how to correctly separate them. In some places overseas companies will take components such as a circuit board and run it through a chipper, similar, if not indeed the same as a wood chipper. Then they’d put the chipped pieces into a furnace and collect the metals like gold and copper. This is a form of disposal and some of the material is recycled, but it is not the proper way to recycle electronics. Other than the captured metals, all the other toxic materials go through the chimney as a poisonous gas exposing all creatures to air that is detrimental to breathe.
The Dangers of Recycling
This refers more toward normal electronics like computers and cellphones, etc., but when it comes to other electrical equipment like air conditioners or refrigerators, that’s a whole different animal. Essentially anything that runs off of electricity is considered an ‘electronic’ device of some sort, but the range is so wide that in all practicality, some cannot be disassembled by anyone other than an expert because of the numerous dangerous chemicals, gasses and other materials involved. For personal electronic devices like laptops, cellphones, printers or what have you; unless you are an expert in toxic materials don’t risk jeopardizing your health, or those around you.
Specializing in E-Waste Recycling
The very reason you’re now seeing numerous e-waste recycling centers is for this very purpose. If it was that easy to do, specialists wouldn’t need to get involved. They know the elements inside each electronic device, what is recyclable and the proper way to do it. Another stumbling block to disassembling and recycling yourself is the amount of ‘miniaturization’ used in today’s electronics. Things are so small now that special equipment is required just to deal with that aspect of it. Although it may seem practical, or even fun to take apart your old devices, don’t risk yours, or the environment’s safety by incorrectly disassembling and/or recycling your electronics. Let the pros do it.