How Does Recycling Work?

Electronics go through several steps before they are completely recycled.


When you visit a Cohen Recycling Center, simply drop off your item(s) to be weighed and processed in the warehouse. If your material has significant commodity value, a Cohen employee will direct you to the main office to receive payment.

Corporations & Municipalities

Cohen’s customized consultation and e-waste recycling management programs pickup, package, and process all obsolete electronics in our secure facility. If there is enough material that has significant commodity value, Cohen will offer a rebate on our pickup and packaging services. Learn more about Cohen’s customized, turnkey Enterprise Solutions»

The Recycling Process

  1. Cohen accepts electronic waste from manufacturers, companies, and consumers and processes it to meet mill and foundry specifications (based on the size, shape, form, and chemistry of the metal).
  2. When electronics arrive at our main processing facility they are categorized, inventoried, and stored in a secure, video monitored warehouse prior to processing.
  3. Each item is then assessed to determine if it has reuse value.
  4. Unless otherwise directed, electronics that remain viable are electronically wiped and then refurbished in-house or via one of Cohen’s fully audited partnering companies.
  5. Remaining electronics are dismantled to the commodity level and separated into various grades, plastics and metals. Hard drives and other data bearing devices are then shredded with our 30-Horsepower Schutte-Buffalo Hammermill. 
  6. A mill or foundry buys the processed scrap and melts it down to make new steel or metal. Circuit boards are shredded then smelted or refined.
  7. Metal converters or fabricators buy material from mills or foundries to convert into usable metal forms.
  8. Manufacturers purchase the metal to make a product – electronics, appliances, automobiles, steel girders, and more. Scrap is often generated as a byproduct of the manufacturing process (this is called prime or industrial scrap).
  9. Companies and consumers purchase the product. At the end of the product’s lifecycle, it becomes scrap.
  10. The process begins again.