A recent market report by Transparency Market Research predicts the global e-scrap volume to rise to US$ 41 billion by 2019; more than four times the current volume. Current global e-scrap is estimated to be around 48 million tons (US$ 9.8 billion), which has been predicted to rise to over 141 million tons by 2019. The report estimates growth in the e-scrap market to average out at 23.06% per annum over the coming six years.
Electronic recycling of copper, steel and plastic resins will continue to drive the market, with stricter government controls expected to be implemented over the next few years, in particular in the Asia Pacific region. Environment sustainability programs and rapid industrialization are also driving the electronic recycling markets.
Currently the recycling of computers makes up the bulk of the market, and this is unlikely to change in the foreseeable future. The pace of technology in microchip manufacturing now renders modern computers obsolete in a much shorter time frame, with hardware replaced far more frequently than ever before. Technology companies – mobile phone companies especially – are now starting to respond by providing better end of life management plans for their products, with take-back programs starting to become more widespread.
The electronic recycling market is currently driven by Europe, although the report predicts a shift to the Asia-Pacific region over the next few years. There are currently few regulations in place covering the recycling of electronic waste, and cheap labor coupled with an ever growing mountain of e-waste is likely to see India, China, Japan, Korea and Taiwan emerge as the major growth centers in e-scrap recycling over the remainder of the decade.