Rapid industrialization and advancements in technology have led governments in Asia-Pacific to pass regulations mandating e-waste recycling, as electrical and electronic waste accumulates, according to new analysis from Frost & Sullivan. Apart from government impetus, the e-waste recycling market has also gotten a boost from the increasing awareness of the potential value of resources within e-waste.
The report, Strategic Analysis of the Asia-Pacific E-Waste Recycling Market, finds that the market is expected to reach US$4.01 billion in 2017, up from US$1.85 billion in 2012.
“As the Asia-Pacific is aiming to raise the standards of general waste management, recycling of e-waste has come into focus,” said Frost & Sullivan Energy & Environmental Research Analyst Prashanth Kay. “Though most countries in Asia-Pacific have not yet established comprehensive regulations on controlling the disposal of e-waste, efforts are being made to study the current state and potential of implementing the right regulatory infrastructure.”
Taking a leaf out of the book of European markets that grew through the strict implementation of legislation, governments in Asia-Pacific are revising their own laws to improve e-waste recycling.
The lack of regulations so far addressing e-waste has also made this region a global collection center for disposal. The abundance of e-waste creates significant opportunities for market participants. However, the lack of consumer awareness about the hazards of unprocessed disposal of electrical and electronic products hinders the market. Further, the heavy investments required to recover precious metals from e-waste processing deter participants. One key challenge for participants is finding sizable amounts of e-waste to justify technological investments, noted Kay. Participants must expand their network of collections through strategic collection points, especially since waste management standards have not been at par with global standards.
The companies that stay afloat will be those that understand the need to increase technological capabilities to maximize output from recycling, Frost & Sullivan predicts.
Despite being such a small portion of the world’s total waste stream, e-waste is receiving a lot of attention as it is highly toxic and as its volume is growing rapidly (in some cases 2-3 times faster than any other waste stream, according to the EPA), wrote Nana Lapham, an analyst with SBI Energy, in an EL Analystbrief.