18 Nov 2015
November 18, 2015

Studies Show the Value of e-Waste

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Value of E-waste

“One man’s trash is another man’s treasure” may be an old saying, but it still holds true when it comes to at least one kind of trash: discarded electronics, known as e-waste.

How often is trash actually valuable? Not often, but when it comes to e-waste, almost every device has a variety of usable materials that can be salvaged to make new electronics. Demand is always growing for new devices, which are becoming obsolete in record time. So how do we know what the potential value of e-waste is? We know because of what’s inside those old electronic devices.

European Studies Estimate the Value of e-Waste

Europe isn’t the biggest generator of e-waste worldwide, but they do produce more than enough to study lost profit. European researchers recently took on the task of estimating the amount of profit that could be made from recycling e-waste. Breaking down the devices into 14 categories, the study found that an estimated potential of 2.15 billion euros could be found in e-waste discarded throughout Europe.

Researchers concluded that certain products, like phones, TVs, and notebooks were most profitable to recycle, and the projected revenue from e-waste is expected to rise as demand increases. That figure is estimated at 3.67 billion euros in a few years.

And that’s just in Europe alone! Bigger producers of e-waste, including the United States, miss out on much greater value each year.

Read more on the global state of e-waste

The State of the Market

Responsible recyclers are in the business of taking unwanted devices and safely turning them into revenue, using eco-friendly recycling methods.

Recyclers and individuals are already taking advantage of the value of e-waste by extracting precious metals and other materials in various ways, as Electronic Recyclers discuss on their blog:

“Indeed, the e-waste gold recovery process has gained widespread attention. Perhaps it’s because the very notion of getting gold from old trash and wrecked devices seems appealing to many. For others, like the informal trash pickers of India, gold recovery has become a way of life and a way out of poverty.”

Gold isn’t the only substance worth taking out of old electronics, but it’s a universally valuable commodity, and members of the general public often don’t even know that everyday devices contain gold components.
value of e-waste - hammer gold

Learn about the precious metals in e-waste

A growing concern is e-waste being dismantled in unsafe ways, most often in developing countries. This poses a threat to public health and the environment, as toxins found in electronics can cause health problems, injury, and contamination. Countries that allow the export of old electronics miss out on the value of e-waste, and contribute to this growing problem.

An Environmental Win-Win

It’s rare when the words “profitability” and “eco-friendly” work well together, but e-waste recycling is kind to the environment and helps to salvage value. Preventing e-waste from ending up in a landfill or makeshift salvage yard not only helps protect the environment and community health, it reduces the need for new raw materials to make electronics–resources that are sometimes difficult to come by.

Environmental considerations in electronics recycling

Looking to the Future

As the public becomes more educated about the global e-waste crisis, the value of e-waste should become common knowledge, helping to encourage participation in the vital activity of electronics recycling. With global participation, we should be able to reduce those discarded piles of missed opportunity.

Ready to be part of the solution? Make sure your old electronics are sent to a responsible recycler!


Author Bio:

Susannah Bruck ProfileSusannah Bruck is a freelance blogger, editor, and ghostwriter. She has been putting her skills to use for clients since 2010, and enjoys working on formats ranging from blog posts to short stories and plays. You can find her at Word Adventures 

Sources:
Electronic Recyclers
Circulate 

 

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