Room for Improvement in e-Waste Recycling
The rising sales of consumer electronics in developing countries will have dire consequences on their environment and public health, according to a report from The United Nations Environment Programme, reports GEEP Michigan.
The report finds that over the next decade there will be a significant increase in e-waste created by and sent to developing countries, rising 500 percent in India and increasing between 200 to 400 percent in South Africa and China. Despite these numbers, recyclers in North America continue to beef up their services and grow their recycling rates.
The 120-page report, “Recycling — From E-Waste To Resources” (PDF), indicates that current e-waste in the European Union amounts to 8.3 to 9.1 million tons annually, with global rates around 40 million tons per year.
By properly handling e-waste, developing countries can prevent environmental damage as well as recover valuable resources such as metals. The report segments the recycling chain into three steps — collection, sorting/dismantling and preprocessing (including sorting, dismantling and mechanical treatment) and end processing — and provides recommendations for all three areas.
The report also evaluates the potential introduction of new recycling technologies into 11 developing countries including Kenya, Uganda, Senegal, Peru, India, China, South Africa, Morocco, Colombia, Mexico, and Brazil.
In North America, recyclers such as CloudBlue and Recycle-Logic, continue to do their part through product service expansions and increased recycling rates.
As an example, CloudBlue Technologies, based in Alpharetta, Ga., is expanding its services to help companies mitigate environmental and data security risks associated with IT equipment disposal. Delivering complete transparency in the recycling chain, the e-waste management company provides customers with audit reports that details how each asset was recycled or resold.
In addition, as an e-Stewards recycler certified by the Basel Action Network (BAN), CloudBlue ensures that no hazardous electronic waste enters the waste stream in developing countries.
This week, alone, Indonesian port officials seized potentially hazardous e-waste shipments due to a tip from BAN.
Recycle-Logic, based in Canada, reports that its recycling rates continue to climb. At the end of February, the recycler has recycled 30 million pounds of electronic waste in the province of Alberta.
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