Electronic devices have penetrated every aspect of modern life. When they are no longer wanted, they become what we call e-waste (electronic waste). This week, Transparency Market Research (TMR), a market intelligence company providing global business research reports and consulting services (as well as in-depth insights, analysis and forecasts on key developments and technology trends), has published its report on "Electronic Recycling (Copper, Steel, Plastic resins) Market - Global Industry Analysis, Size, Share, Growth, Trends and Forecast 2013 – 2019." It is available now on its website. Consumers can either buy or see a description of the contents; the latter option allows them to take a sneak-peak look at what material is contained within the 158-page document.
According to the TMR study and findings that are contained in the report (and revealed to a certain extent on the site), is the fact that the global electronic recycling market, which was valued at USD 9.84 billion in 2012, is expected to reach USD 41.36 billion by 2019, growing at a CAGR of 23.06 percent from 2013 to 2019. According to a Yahoo! Finance post that disclosed information about the report on its website this Tuesday, “in terms of volume, the market was 48.43 million tons in 2012 and is forecast to reach 141.05 million tons by 2019.”
Regarding e-waste recycling and casting-out outdated electronics, “Europe was the largest recycler of e-waste and Asia Pacific is expected to be the fastest growing market for electronic recycling during the forecast period, growing at a CAGR of 22.8 percent from 2013 to 2019,” as the post explained. The “lack of efficient government regulations made Asia Pacific a collection point for global e-waste. [Therefore] availability of abundant volume of e-waste and cheap labor is expected to drive Asia Pacific electronic recycling market.”
For the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), "cleaning up e-waste" is a global priority with an aim to reduce harm (i.e., the amount of toxic chemicals that cause harm to the environment) from the negative effects of the growing stream of e-waste; thus, there is a concern about possible mismanagement and mishandling of clean-up sites that have a disposal of electronics establishment; it could cause serious public health and environment impacts.
Despite numerous benefits of recycling, lack of regulatory and recycling infrastructure has hampered the growth of this market. As EPA states that “not every electronic recycler follows environmentally recycling practices” and meets available regulations/standards on regional and State eCycling programs.
According to the Consumer Electronics Association (News - Alert) (CEA), recycling electronics prevents valuable materials from going into the waste stream. “However, only a small percentage of the global electronic waste is being recycled, while a large portion is often dumped into landfills, “explains the TMR report. The study also mentions key players, recent developments and business strategies in the Electronics Recycling Market. The full TMR report discusses the recycling efforts by type of processed material, type of processed material used as stock for new electronic products, type of equipment processed, and solutions by geography.
Cleaning up electronic waste is a collaboration effort; in fact, EPA collaborates with the United Nations University - Solving the E-waste Problem (StEP) to work together to address the e-waste problem in developing countries. This initiative builds upon its domestic efforts of improving management of discarded used electronics to minimize the growing stream of e-waste and to increase the recycling and reuse of these type of materials: from computers and cell phones to TVs.
EPA and StEP focus on international efforts for appropriate e-waste refurbishment and disposal that help thwart the growing problem of electronic waste. The effort focuses on undertaking plans to get consumers to recycle or donate for reuse used electronics before they end up in regular trash or arranged to be collected and illegally disposed of overseas.
The U.S. Dept. of Energy is also involved in helping to assess the recycling and recovery of rare earth metals from electronics in ensuring manufacturers assume the responsibility of disposing this waste.
Despite the support from the government (as well as EPA, StEP, etc.) and increased awareness among the consumers to join in to minimize the growing stream of e-waste, electronics recycling remains, however, a problem worldwide.
Edited by Cassandra Tucker