The better our electronics become, the bigger the demand is. Therefore, the need of better e-waste recycling solutions becomes a vital call for sustainability.
Recent statistic showed the countries with the highest demand for an electronic waste recycling solutions. Norway is leading the list with a total of 62,4lbs for the year of 2014, followed by Switzerland, Iceland, Denmark and the UK. Alongside with the USA, these countries have the highest living standards, making purchasing and replacing old electronics with new very affordable.
Although people consider e-waste only a very tiny selection of devices, a broad range of electrical assets fall into that recyclable category, including cabling, server racks, cable boxes, laboratory and medical equipment, industrial scrap, test equipment, old TVs, refrigerators and more.
Electronic waste is among the fastest growing sectors. Nearly a 100 percent of the generated waste is recyclable. That alone doesn’t really help the fact that the recyclable rates are lower than expected.
A sustainable business report stated, that in 2014, approximately 41.8 tons of electronic waste has been generated around the world, breaking the number to 12.8 million tons of small asset, 7.0 million tons of temperature exchange equipment (air conditioners, refrigerators, etc.) and 11.8 million tons of large equipment.
Only a small portion of 6.5 million tons has been properly refurbished.
The United States alone have generated 11.7 million tons of treatable e-waste, and only 29% of the total amount has been recycled.
According to the U.S. EPA, only 2% of the solid waste stream is represented by recyclable electronics, accounting for 70% of the hazardous waste, disposed in landfills.
The U.S. Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) reported, that annually, each household spends approx. $1,312 on consumer electronics, where smartphones and tablets are on top of the list of the globally generated revenue in sales that counts around $206 billion.
A study showed that producing a full set of a desktop computer – the computer and its monitor together, take about 1.5 tons of water, 530 lbs of fossil fuels and nearly 48lbs of chemicals.
It is proven that recycling a ton of old laptops can supply 3,657 households with energy.
Another interesting fact is that smartphones are the main source of precious metals. Statistics show that in 2016, nearly $60million million worth of gold and silver has been thrown away in the form of tablets of smartphones in America.
It is known that electronics have both precious metals and a number of toxic chemicals that are hazardous to the environment. According to the U.S. EPA, damaged and not properly recycled
Globally, consumers are generating more and more e-waste each year. Approximately 80 percent of the electronic scrap that the USA generates annually is being exported to landfills in Asia.
In comparison, a proper knowledge of where to recycle computers and electronics can open 296 jobs per 10,000 tons of e-waste processed worldwide.