Consumer Technology Association Introduces Initiative for Electronics Waste Reduction

Used motherboard from a landfill

(Credit: Unsplash)

by | Jan 15, 2024

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The Consumer Technology Association (CTA) has launched an initiative aimed to reduce waste, encourage reuse and recycling, and reduce the climate impact of the consumer electronics industry.

The program, the Consumer Technology Circularity Initiative (CTCI), builds on efforts made by CTA in the last ten years, including multi-stakeholder agreements on energy efficiency and its eCycling Leadership Initiative, which has recycled more than 5 billion pounds of electronics in the United States to date. The new initiative will reportedly go beyond electronics scrap collection and work to improve process innovations for repair and reuse.

Along with CTA, founding members of the CTCI include Lenovo, LG Electronics, Panasonic, Samsung, and Sony Electronics. These companies have implemented circulatory plans with targets ranging from eliminating plastic packaging or using plant-based plastic alternatives to maximizing the lifetime of their electronics offerings and forwarding modular product design. For example, Samsung aims to apply recycled plastic resin to 50% of plastic parts used in its products by 2050.

“The hallmark of the technology industry is innovation,” said Walter Alcorn, vice president of environmental affairs and industry sustainability for CTA. “CTA member companies exemplify this and advance the entire industry by advancing a circular economy, seeking to mitigate environmental impacts and offering solutions that enhance the consumer experience to live sustainability.”

Electronics Circularity May Present Business Growth Opportunity

With more than 57 million tons of electronics discarded worldwide each year, reducing waste has become a sustainability focus for the consumer electronics sector. Many electronics companies have also identified benefits of implementing circular business models beyond environmental impacts, such as cost savings and meeting consumer preferences.

According to the United Nations, the value of electronics waste, or e-waste, is over $62.5 billion, and implementing trade-in programs and increasing refurbishment production may allow companies to use the industry’s waste problem as a route for additional revenue. As consumers become more proactive about the products they buy and more heavily consider the environmental impact of their purchases, eco-conscious electronics companies may also become more economically competitive.

According to UnivDatos Market Insights, the electronics waste management market is expected to grow at about 15% CAGR through 2027. CTA also said that the U.S. has spent $1 billion since 2009 for electronics recycling, more than any other industry has spent on consumer recycling in the country.

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