Responsible processing of equipment is labor-intensive
The responsible process for recycling electronic equipment involves many steps that are often labor-intensive. For example, a copier that has very little scrap value requires 4-5 steps to properly separate components prior to final processing. Ink/toner must be removed and plastics and metals must be separated. Other items; such as old TVs require manual separation of the lead-filled tube from the rest of the device. The labor required plus the disposal cost for leaded glass are far greater than what little scrap value there is for the plastics and metals in a TV. These same processing requirements apply to many other items including LCD screens and appliances that contain refrigerants.
Manually separating components is the most effective method to ensure optimum material recovery, but it comes with a cost in labor and other facility resources.