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E-waste Recovery Totals $6.8b in 2010, Grows 3x Faster than Other Streams

E-waste is a small portion of global waste, contributing only a 0.01 percent to 3 percent of total global waste, but it is growing at a rate two to three times faster than any other waste stream, according to a new report from SBI Energy.

The report “E-Waste Recycling and Reuse Services Worldwide” says that the business opportunity presented by growth in recycling and recovery services in 2010 had a market value close to $6.8 billion, increasing nearly 10 percent from the 2009 market value of $6.2 billion. Collection services alone are expected to triple by 2020, SBI Energy said.

The study follows the increase of electronics products purchasing driven by the accelerated pace of obsolescence in the electronics goods sector, and, with it, the growth of the e-waste recycling and reuse services market worldwide. The report contains market data from 2006 to 2010 and forecast data through 2020.

According to the report, e-waste value is attributed to the recovery and reuse of  lead, copper and gold, found in some e-waste components. In 2011, China and India are estimated to retain the largest market shares, in terms of value, with approximate 24% and 22% respectively.

E-waste is also receiving attention due to its high toxicity, and increased regulation of the waste stream. In July, the EPA introduced a stewardship program to encourage businesses and consumers to recycle their electronics with certified recyclers, and for electronic recyclers to become certified.

SBI Energy’s report reviews the environmental challenges associated with the e-waste stream, and identifies trends and regions most affected by developments in the e-waste regulatory framework.

Photo: EPA

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