Advances in Regulation and Industry Certification Are Driving Increases in Recycling and Reuse of Scrap Electronics

BOULDER, Colo., Jun 11, 2012 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- Discarded electronic equipment that is not recycled, reused, or stored becomes e-waste and is buried, incinerated, or dumped, representing a significant environmental hazard. Today, most unwanted e-waste is still disposed of in landfills rather than being directed toward reuse or recycling, and the total volume of discarded electronics and e-waste in landfills will continue increasing over the next several years. New laws and regulations, along with advances in industry certification of processors of electronic scrap, however, will slow the dumping of e-waste in coming years. According to a recent report from Pike Research, these developments will combine to produce strong progress in the electronics recycling movement through 2025.

Between 2010 and 2025, the cleantech market intelligence firm forecasts, the percentage of total e-scrap that is recycled will grow from 18% in 2010 to 54% in 2025. Electronics recycling and reuse will rise from 122 million cubic feet (and 1.1 million tons) per year in 2010 to 789 million cubic feet (and 7.9 million tons) annually by 2025.

"The key players in the consumer electronics product sectors are all large multinational companies that have in one form or another adopted concepts of corporate social responsibility (CSR) and sustainability," says vice president Bob Gohn. "Implementation and deployment vary from company to company, though, and some are more robust in their efforts than others. Progress on the regulatory and standards front will accelerate these efforts."

Two certification processes, e-Stewards and R2, are now available for processors of electronic scrap that establish sophisticated standards of performance for e-waste processors, and OEMs are beginning to require their contractors to be certified. Moreover, the U.S. Congress has pending legislation that, if passed, would provide support for the Basel Convention Treaty and its Ban Amendment. In addition, the European Union is considering modifications to their WEEE Directive that would close perceived loopholes and increase diversion rates.

Pike Research's report, "Electronics Recycling and E-Waste Issues", provides a detailed analysis of e-scrap issues facing the electronics industry over the coming years, including an assessment of market and economic factors, legislative issues, environmental concerns, and the strategies of key industry players. The study includes market forecasts through 2025 for unit sales of electronics by category, along with volume and weight of total e-scrap generated as well as the ultimate disposition through recycling, reuse, storage, and e-waste. Also included are detailed interview responses from state environmental management agencies, OEMs and service providers, and e-waste processing companies. An Executive Summary of the report is available for free download on the firm's website.

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