The Department has identified the following major types of electronic equipment that may be found in Florida's municipal
solid waste (MSW). These types of electronic equipment are the focus of the Department's end-of-life electronics waste
management efforts and the Department of Management Services statewide electronics demanufacturing and
Demanufacturing is the opposite of manufacturing the product. Instead of assembling the product, demanufacturers take
the electronic product apart to recover usable components, such as memory, disk drives and microprocessor chips, and
to recover scrap materials with value, such as copper cables and circuit boards. In this way, more value is recovered
from the end-of-life electronic product than would be recovered if the whole product was scrapped without disassembly.
Televisions come in a variety of sizes, usually measured as a diagonal across the screen. Common groupings
among recyclers and demanufacturers are 19" or less and larger than 19". Generally, larger TVs,
especially console models, are more labor intensive (and therefore more expensive) to demanufacture and recycle.
Almost every household in the United States has at least 1 television.
Computers are often thought of as a single type of electronic equipment. It is useful to list the different
components of personal computer systems since the recycling and demanufacturing processes and economics of
each component can be very different.
This is the unit that contains the screen we all look at when using the computer.
Computer Central Processing Units (CPUs)
This is the part of the computer that actually does the computing. CPU components that have some net
value for recycling and demanufacturing include circuit boards, hard drives, memory chips, microprocessor
chips and video cards.
Peripherals are separate pieces of equipment that are necessary to operate a computer, such as the keyboard or mouse,
that perform additional functions such as printers, scanners, modems, or cables that connect the different parts of
the computer. When this equipment is resold, recycled or scrapped, most recyclers and demanufacturers break it down
into monitors, CPUs (and reusable or resellable components such as circuit boards, hard drives and chips) and computer
peripherals such as keyboards, mouse, printers, scanners, modems and cables.
About half the households in the United States have a computer. Most businesses have at least one with larger businesses
having many computers and peripherals.
Photos courtesy of Creative Recycling Systems, Brandon, FL; Global Investment Recovery, Tampa, FL; &
Electronic Equipment Recyclers and Undertakers, Miami, FL
Handheld and Desktop Telecommunications Equipment
(Telephones, Fax Machines)
This equipment includes desk telephones, fax machines and portable telephones and communication radios and may be
found in just about every home and business.
Mainframe Computers and High-end Telecommunications Equipment
Mainframes typically consist of a large and powerful central computer with a number of workstations consisting of a
keyboard and monitor which access the mainframe computer via automated servers. High-end telecommunications equipment
consists of switching equipment for building or company-wide telephone equipment and equipment used in commercial audio,
video or telephone applications.
Both mainframe computers and high-end telecommunications equipment have high value components or materials that can
be recycled with a positive net value (net value = value of recovered components or materials ? cost to recover).
Personal computers, TVs and desktop or handheld telecommunications equipment, like cell phones and fax machines, have
low value components or materials that have a negative or zero net value when recycled. Because of their positive net
value, mainframe computers and high-end telecommunications equipment are typically bought by recyclers and demanufacturers,
producing revenue for the person or company discarding them. On the other hand, because personal computers, TVs and
desktop or handheld telecommunications equipment have a negative or zero net value, recyclers and demanufacturers
typically charge a fee to pick up and recycle these products. Thus, you usually get money when you recycle your
mainframe computer and high-end telecommunications equipment; you usually have to pay when you recycle your personal
computers, TVs and desktop or handheld telecommunications equipment.