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May 2004

Circuit Board Recycling System Created
System Safely and Efficiently Recovers Reusable Parts and Valuable Metals from Discarded Circuit Boards

Syracuse, NY— Communities across the country are scrambling to figure out what to do about the huge growth of electronics trash that is accumulating. The recent release of a U.N. study outlining the need for member countries to take actions to slow the tide of toxic electronic devices entering landfills worldwide has brought the issue to the forefront, both domestically and internationally.

Northeast Surplus & Materials, LLC, a Syracuse-based Central New York electronics recycler, has developed a new circuit board recycling system that was made possible through the New York State Energy Resource Development Authority (NYSERDA). NYSERDA provided funding in the amount of more than $230,000, with the overall project totaling more than $460,000.

The National Safety Council estimates that over 400 million computers will be abandoned in 2004 and that the number will grow steadily over the next few years. To date, only about 10% of these will be recycled. The rest will either be put into landfills or packed into ocean containers and shipped overseas where the recycling regulations aren’t as strict as those of this country. Also, recycling operations there are permitted to use such pollutant methods as bathing circuit boards in acid to remove gold and other metals before stripping them off by hand, according to Jim Moltion, Northeast president.

The company is currently working out details with a few of the country’s largest computer manufacturers for them to buy systems from Northeast to recover usable circuit board components using the new system, according to Moltion. All the raw metals recovered from the process are sold to smelters for reuse in making such items as new electronics and jewelry.

The new patent-pending system efficiently and safely recovers reusable parts and valuable metals from discarded circuit boards, leaving nothing for the landfill. According to Moltion, the new environmentally friendly, one-operator circuit board “depopulator” system removes over 300,000 parts a week during a normal 40-hour workweek.

Investment is currently being sought for the commercial-ready system and the company has plans to sell or license it to others in the worldwide recycling industry.

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