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NCER Landscape Report on Electronics Recycling predicts exciting prospects for recycling
May 31, 2016 09:43CST
Source:SMM
The NCER and the Sustainability Consortium has released a new report that predicts immense opportunities for electronics recycling, reuse and materials recovery.

By Paul Ploumis (ScrapMonster Author)

May 30, 2016 10:36:17 AM

The National Center for Electronics Recycling (NCER) and the Sustainability Consortium has released a new report that predicts immense opportunities for electronics recycling, reuse and materials recovery.

SEATTLE (Scrap Monster): The National Center for Electronics Recycling (NCER) and the Sustainability Consortium has released a new report that predicts immense opportunities for electronics recycling, reuse and materials recovery. The report titled ‘The Electronics Recycling Landscape Report’ was prepared for the Closed Loop Foundation.

Methodology

The information presented in the report was collected using a combination of research and a series of stakeholder surveys conducted during August and September last year. A total of 37 leading organizations participated in the survey, including representatives from the consumer electronics industry, NGOs, government agencies, refurbishers, recyclers, trade groups, and other organizations.

Scope

The report aims to provide a comprehensive overview of the used electronics management industry in the US. The report provides detailed analysis of the programs that are currently in place and their effectiveness. It also examines how changes in consumer preferences, changing technology and government regulations over the next five years could possibly impact the electronics recycling programs. For instance, the printed circuit boards in market today contain reduced amounts of metal. Moreover, gold is being replaced by copper in many lower-end applications. This has greatly impacted the value of material recovery.

Electronics Industry

As per estimations by the Consumer Technology Association (CTA), US consumers are believed to have purchased more than 1 billion devices during 2015. Also, the number of mobile and wearable devices entering the market has increased sharply by 15% over the previous year. The average US household is expected to have approximately 24 devices.

In total, more than 3.8 billion devices are estimated to be in use or stored in US households. The US EPA study conducted in 2013 estimated that there were 6.2 million tons of displays containing cathode ray tube (CRT) in US households that would reach end-of-life recycling stream over the subsequent ten-year period. The CTA survey conducted in 2015 had showed that 34% of the US households are having CRT televisions.

How to manage used electronics

According to the report, electrical and electronic equipment (EEE) market constitutes a unique waste stream, as these devices contain valuable commodities. Destruction of information is a critical stage in electronics recycling as EEE contains significant amount of personal information. Although shredding is considered to be an effective option to destroy personal information, the value that can be recovered from shredded materials is much lesser.

Reuse and Refurbishment

Reuse and refurbishment help unlock great value from used devices. It is the most environment friendly procedure to capture the material resources in the devices. The industry needs to develop new techniques to enhance the reuse and refurbishment technology in use today, as more compact and lightweight devices may lead to less material recovery in future. The report identifies the need for better collection systems, by broadening the scope of products routinely collected. It also calls for more investments in research and development (R&D) activities.

Challenges

The hazardous components and certain components that require special handling contributes to significant rise in recycling time and costs. For example, integrated batteries in smart phones and tablets need to be removed by hand before they are recycled. The plastics found in televisions, desktops and laptop computers contain Brominated Flame Retardants (BFRs), which reduce their flammability. Some of these BFRs are considered toxic too.

About NCER

The National Center for Electronics Recycling (NCER) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization formed in 2005 that is dedicated to the development and enhancement of a national infrastructure for the recycling of used electronics in the U.S.

About The Sustainability Consortium

The Sustainability Consortium is a global organization dedicated to improving the sustainability of consumer products. Its members and partners include manufacturers, retailers, suppliers, service providers, NGOs, civil society organizations, governmental agencies and academics. The Sustainability Consortium is jointly administered by Arizona State University and University of Arkansas with additional operations at Wageningen University in The Netherlands and Tianjin, China.


electronics recycling

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