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Computer E-Waste Could Reach 1bn PCs by 2020

e-wasteComputer recycling capacity will need to be able to cope with more than a billion PCs by 2020, according to research published in the International Journal of Environmental Technology and Management.

As access to technology increases in the developing world, the problem of recycling and disposal of desktop and notebook computers rises, too.

Neelu Jain of the PEC University of Technology in Chandigarh and Pamela Chawla of the Surya World, Surya World Technical Campus in Punjab, India, have estimated the potential number of obsolete desktop and notebook computers and the quantity of various toxic components that will be generated from these devices over the next 10 to 15 years in India. They suggest that it will take three decades at the current rate of penetration before there is one computer per capita across the nation.

However, there will be higher-end users who have more than one device and given a population of almost 1.3 billion, this conservative rate of growth means a lot of e-waste to be disposed of in that time.

As such, their research suggests that there will be 126 million desktop computers and 900 million notebook computers that will be past their life expectancy by the year 2025.

“These results will help waste management authorities in planning appropriate infrastructure and facilities for handling, recycling and disposal of this hazardous waste,” the researchers say. “This analysis does not address distribution of obsolete computers for reuse, recycling and landfill options nor their storage time, which is an important issue to resolve in the future.”

Last month Dell began using UL-Environment certified closed-loop recycled plastics in the manufacturing of computers. The company says this will help it cut e-waste and reduce carbon emissions by 11 percent compared with virgin plastics.

Photo Credit: Electronic waste, a large pile of unwanted computer monitors by Stephen Gibson via Shutterstock



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