IT Recycling at AfB

Professional recycling helps to recover the raw materials contained in IT and mobile devices and return them to the economic cycle.

Recovery of raw materials through IT recycling

With around 500,000 IT and mobile devices processed annually, AfB has been achieving a remarketing rate of 65% and more for years. ICT that cannot be remarketed is dismantled at AfB's certified waste management facility in Borchen, Germany, in order to be recycled according to type and removed of harmful substances.

AfB gGmbH Recycling Center

AfB is a certified waste management company with a primary treatment facility. At AfB's recycling center in Borchen near Paderborn, electronic scrap is separated into its recyclable materials. PCs and servers, among other things, are dismantled there. The separated material is then sorted by fractions and sent for recycling.

Waste prevention through IT remarketing

"By reusing used and remanufactured devices - which is AfB's goal - we can prevent more and more new devices from being produced for only a few years and then scrapped," explains Dietmar Mormann, AfB branch manager in Paderborn and Borchen.

3 advantages of manual disassembly

Indeed, machines can disassemble IT devices such as PCs and servers quickly and well. But the use of manual disassembly, as practiced at AfB, has three clear advantages:

Recyclingcenter in Borchen

 1. Separation by type

  • "We can separate materials that are still mixed with foreign substances in the automated process in a much more sorted manner," emphasizes Dietmar Mormann. "We can then reuse them at a higher level and resell them at a correspondingly higher value."

2. Spare parts extraction

  • Precisely fitting in-house spare parts acquisition: employees in the refurbishment department draw up a wanted list of components that they need. Their colleagues in the recycling center use this list to search for the exact functional components they need, catalog them and send them for remanufacturing. In this way, the amount of e-waste can be significantly reduced. 

3. Inclusive jobs

  • AfB stands for "Arbeit für Menschen mit Behinderung" (Work for People with Disabilities): almost half of AfB's employees are severely disabled and have a permanent job in the first job market. For our successful social & green IT concept, we were awarded the title of Europe's Social Firm 2020, among others. 



Recycling center AfB in Borchen Recycling center AfB in Borchen

On the safe side with AfB

The responsible extraction and disposal of raw materials is increasingly moving into society's consciousness. Those who act responsibly today will have a clear advantage tomorrow.

Maintain a transparent, secure and ecologically responsible approach to your information and communication technology. Look for an IT partner like the non-profit company AfB, certified as a refurbisher and waste management specialist. For the environment. For inclusion. For your safety.

Direct commissioning of inclusion companies

Did you know that according to § 118 GWB (Gesetz gegen Wettbewerbsbeschränkungen - Act against Restraints of Competition), public clients can dispense with a call for tenders and directly commission the recognized inclusion company AfB gGmbH? The prerequisite is the employment of at least 30% employees with disabilities. At AfB there are even more than 40%!

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E-waste: dispose or recycle?

Recyclable materials are everything that can be returned to the material cycle directly via spare parts recovery or via melting plants.

In the EU alone, several million tons of e-waste are generated each year. Worldwide, according to the Global E-Waste Monitor 2020, the amount was as high as 53.6 million tons, of which only 17.4 were properly collected and recycled. The trend is an enormous gap between growing mountains of waste and a lack of recycling structure.

At AfB, e-waste is separated into fractions. Used equipment thus serves as a raw material store. The metals and valuable materials contained are recovered. Experts refer to this process as "urban mining.  The aim is to reduce the mining of raw materials in nature, conserve resources, reuse raw materials and disassemble decommissioned smartphones, laptops, tablets and computers so that their components can be recycled. According to legal requirements, metals such as iron, copper, aluminum, gold, silver and even palladium are separated and transferred to specialized smelting plants.

Questionable mining of raw materials

The extraction of the resources needed for IT hardware often takes place under questionable conditions. Take Congo, for example. Cobalt and coltan for the production of smartphones are mined in illegal mines - often without social security, or even with the help of child labor. Environmental sins are also accepted and, for example, wastewater is discharged directly into rivers, with all the consequences for the environment and health.

Gold mining in the Brazilian Amazon uses toxic mercury that contaminates the habitat. All this happens with high energy input and enormous greenhouse gas emissions. Good reasons for refurbishers like AfB to recycle raw materials that have already been used. Good reasons for companies, banks, insurance companies and government agencies, that use ICT in their employees' workplaces, to ensure that the devices are recycled properly.