Recycling of Hard Disk Drives – Analysing the optimal dismantling depth for recyclers in developing countries and emerging economies



Hard disk drives occur in most end-of-life desktop and notebook computers, either as 3.5 inch model or 2.5 inch model. While the assembly of hard disk drives is quite compact, it consists of various materials that are of interests for recycling enterprises and refineries. Nevertheless, hard disk drives are often designed in a way that makes it difficult to effectively separate and completely liberate the containing materials for recycling. Pre-processing enterprises need to find a balance between costs of operations and economic return. In order to support the decision-making of recycling enterprises operating in the Ghanaian and Egyptian context, a hard disk drive dismantling trial was carried out in the framework of the project “Global Circular Economy of Strategic Metals – the Best-of-two-Worlds Approach (Bo2W)”.


  • Öko-Institut e.V. and City Waste Recycling Ltd.


  • Andreas Manhart, Dr. Matthias Buchert, Stefanie Degreif, Dr. Georg Mehlhart (Oeko-Institut), Jürgen Meinel (City Waste Recycling)

Publishing Date




  • English

Waste hierarchy

  • Recycling

Waste type

  • E-Waste

Area of intervention

  • Research
  • Operation


  • Northern Africa
  • Western Africa


  • Egypt
  • Ghana

german cooperationFederal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Developmentsupported by The State Government of North Rhine-Westphalia