ISB Global Highlights Potential of E-Waste Reuse, Recycling

by | Aug 23, 2023

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computers in a trash can on the street

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Founder and CEO of ISB Global, Chris Williams, recently drew attention to the untapped potential of using old or broken devices as resources for manufacturing new products. His blog post also emphasizes the role of governments and consumers in addressing the immense amount of e-waste currently present in the environment.

A 2021 study done by the Waste from Electrical and Electronic Equipment industry body found that the world discards more than 57 million tons of electronics each year. Williams expressed that this massive amount of waste can be viewed as a potential opportunity, though, rather than an unsolvable problem.

“In every country around the world, there are millions of old, unwanted electronic gadgets hiding in drawers, boxes, lofts or garages whose components could be recycled and reused to make the next generation of new devices and appliances,” said Williams. “The current situation opens up a significant commercial opportunity for forward-thinking waste and recycling companies to collect and then recycle this old technology at scale. They can take it apart, and sort and remove the valuable elements to return back into the market for reuse.”

Especially since precious and base metals found in electronics are finite resources that require dangerous, expensive, and environmentally damaging extractive practices, reusing already-existing devices would avoid these pitfalls and promote a low-waste, circular economy.

Role of Government and Consumers in Addressing E-Waste

Williams said that consumers should actively pursue a productive end-of-life for their devices, but he also emphasizes the need for governments to hold manufacturers and retailers accountable if the means for recycling devices are unavailable.

“What’s needed are clear, easy-to-use schemes for people to send their devices for reuse or recycling once they are finished with them,” said Williams. “In fairness, some manufacturers and retailers are already taking responsibility for the entire life cycle of their own appliances and devices – for example, offering trade-in deals for old devices when you buy a new one.”

He promotes investment in new ways for consumers and businesses to reuse and recycle their unwanted technology safely and sustainably in order to reduce environmental damage caused by chemicals found in these devices and to lessen the depletion of the planet’s natural resources.

The e-waste management market is expected to grow by about 15% through 2027, which should help in addressing the growing prevalence of e-waste in the environment.

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