Recycling is what we should all be doing. But how our recycling habits and the constant arrival of new technology affects the e-waste industry? Waste360 spoke with Jason Linnell, executive director for the National Center for Electronics Recycling, and Eugene Niuh, business development director for Omnisource Electronics Recycling to learn more about the latest e-scrap recycling trends and challenges.
Waste360: What are the current e-waste recycling trends?
Linnell pointed out that two of the biggest challenges of the e-waste recycling industry is the decline of the commodities prices and the increase of CRTs (Cathode Ray Tubes) coming into recycling streams.
As people tend to keep their old electronic devices for as long as they can, recycling companies are still getting old tube-style monitors and televisions, which haven’t been sold for many years in the U.S.
This creates two problems:
- The items don’t have a lot of valuable materials
- New electronics don’t use any CRT glass. A few years back, used CRT glass could be recycled into new CRT glass for new equipment, but that is no longer an option.
Waste360: What are some of the challenges that the e-waste recycling industry is facing?
Eugene Niuh explained that the lack of consistent and comprehensive legislations on the federal level is a major problem for recyclers.
“As an industry, we have to continue working with elected officials to keep pushing for e-waste legislation and consistency in its management. To date, it’s possible for people or recyclers to bring their e-waste across the border to another state that may have little to no e-waste legislation,” Niuh said.
According to Linnell, overcoming the current challenges is not impossible.
- People need to recycle their old electronic equipment as soon as they buy new one to replace it. It enables more possibilities for reuse and remarketing. If the device is too old, it is more difficult to refurbish it and give it a second life.
- New recycling tools to help extract precious components need to be created. The newer the electronics, the harder it is to extract precious materials. “Right now, the industry needs to invest in longer-term technologies to make the process more efficient overall,” Linnell said.
Waste360: What’s in store for the future of e-waste recycling?
“The legislation side of things really has to come together here in the next decade or so in order to facilitate and level the playing field for legitimate recyclers.
The e-waste space is not going to go away and in my opinion, it will increase. The general public is aware of the “typical” e-waste stream such as PCs, laptops and cell phones but a larger percentage of other consumer and industrial e-waste continue to face challenges in recycling options,” Niuh said.
At ICT, transparency is key. Every technological device is processed by R2 certified staff in the ICT facility in the Boston area. ICT knows how important trust is and values its relationships with its customers. ICT cares about preserving our planet and helps companies all over the country to recycle E-Waste and protect their data.
Author Bio: Audrey Adam is the marketing manager at ICT. She has a background in journalism and blog writing.
Picture credit: Old Electronics, Pixabay