Technology recycling – does it really happen?

Rather than throw it in the electrical bin at the town dump I’ve just taken apart a 20-year old DVD writer from my old PC, weighed the components and recycled them separately:

DVD drive - Electrical DVD drive - Plastic DVD drive - Metal


Electronics: 380 grammes, including not one but three motors and some steel that would take too long to remove. These will go into the electrical bin. Maybe someone, someday will extract the gold…



Plastic, mostly ABS: only 90 grammes. This goes straight into the household bin. Someone might recycle ABS but until the recycling marks are a bit larger and on all the components this is simply not going to happen. I can’t take the risk of it polluting the HDPE in the Blue Bin, either.


And finally Steel: a whopping 630 grammes or nearly 60% of the total. This could reasonably go with the tin cans in the household Blue Bin.




Did I do well? I wonder. It required the removal of twelve cross-head screws with at least two different-sized screwdrivers but didn’t take long to do.

What would have happened to it in the electricals dump? I hate to think and seriously doubt that anything similar would happen. Some years ago we were promised that electricals would be made of memory materials that self-disassemble in hot water and perhaps self-sort, too. Perhaps that was just hot air. In the meantime I’ll continue with my own pre-processing but can hardly expect others to do the same.

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