The Importance of Recycling Printed Circuit Boards
Printed circuit board assemblies are integral components in a large variety and number of electronics that are utilized in dozens of industries across the US, Canada, and North America. From automobiles to military aircraft to fitness wearables and consumer electronics, there are literally millions of printed circuit board assemblies of various sizes, capabilities, and power in use today. This makes the issue of deposing and recycling of circuit board assemblies an important topic to discuss.
According to a recent article published by The Economist, only 15 – 20% of electronics are recycled properly in the US. Throwing them in a landfill does nothing to remove the environmental impact that printed circuit boards can have on the environment. Nor does incinerating them, which is a common practice by some firms who claim to recycle printed circuit boards and electronics.
Printed circuit board assemblies are typically coated with a flame retardant that is a critical part of the assembly process – for the obvious reason of keeping the circuit boards from ever becoming a fire hazard. These brominated fire retardants are a toxic substance, that when incinerated, can release toxic chemicals into the air and water (if the chemicals are allowed to be leached out). If inhaled or digested, this chemical can cause cancer and reproductive disorders. This is why incinerating electronics that contain circuit board assemblies is an unacceptable method of recycling or disposing of electronics.
It is important that you use only a recycling facility that is certified to handle electronics’ disposals. There are even facilities that only handle electronics. They engage a system that carefully dismantles electronics, separating out the potentially more toxic elements and recycling them through safe chemical and mechanical processes. The recycling facility should be able to provide a written assurance to your business that their electronics’ recycling process is done correctly and is environmentally-safe.
At ADCO Circuits, we take our design and manufacturing of circuit board assemblies seriously. We are also deeply concerned that after our boards are used, that they are recycled properly. Please let us know if you need help locating an electronics recycling center that will recycle your electronics the right way.