How often do you wonder about the future of electronics recycling? We know that the planet works on a delicate balance. Unfortunately, many people are just beginning to understand the role of humans in disrupting that balance. More importantly, modern electronics are designed and built on a platform of engineered obsolescence. In other words, they are designed to only be useful for a few short years before you are required to purchase new electronics. This creates mountains of electronic waste around the world – e-waste that is potentially lethal to our planet and its fragile balance. That is why these trends and innovations for the future of electronics recycling are so important.
Why is E-Waste Bad for the Planet?
It is true that electronics today are much smaller and contain far less bulk than the electronic devices of yesteryear. That doesn’t mean that they are any less dangerous to the planet. Even though they take up less linear space in landfills, the truth is that they are so easily disposable today that they are often overlooked and the impact on the planet goes unchecked.
Electronics are made with heavy metals, rare earth minerals, and other toxins that can cause widespread damage to the local ecosystems. The areas near landfills and other locations where these items are found may have contaminated soil that washes into waterways causing damage to plants and wildlife far downstream of these areas. Because the waste is so devastating to the planet, recycling is the only viable option. Fortunately, new trends and innovations make the future of electronics recycling look very bright indeed.
Recycling Innovations Worthy of Note
One of the innovations gaining traction among techno-forward recyclers is the use of automation to disassemble electronics and recover components. This reduces human error, helps to preserve various components, and reduces the costs of electronics recycling considerably. It also helps to reduce mistakes in the disassembly process that could lead to contaminated products finding their way into landfills. Another unexpected benefit of e-waste recycling is that these components and pieces that are so harmful to the planet can be provided with a new purpose. Everyone wins when we recycle electronic waste.
Another innovation from some e-waste recyclers is to refine the metals recycled as the last stage of the process. This allows them to be used in new materials. It also eliminates much of the waste that is normally created in the recycling process. The goal, of course, is to recycle to the point of zero waste, though that isn’t always possible.
The Future of E-Waste – Mining
The bottom line is that electronics are made with rare materials. From precious metals to rare earth minerals, these sleek electronic devices represent a treasure trove for those who are willing to do the work to mine for the hidden gems inside. It isn’t sexy or glamorous work, but it is work that pays off. It offers dividends both for the planet and for the enterprises that invest in mining e-waste.
3-D Printing Presents Potential E-Waste Solution
As 3-D printing becomes more easily accessible to the masses, more discoveries are being made daily about the many potential benefits it offers. This includes benefits such as printing spare parts for electronic devices that give them new life. Now, instead of it being just as cost-effective to replace electronics as to repair them, 3-D printing enables more cost-effective repairs, delaying the trip to the landfill or electronics recycling facility by a few more years.
Refurbishing Electronics Recycling for Future Use
Another great solution for electronics recycling is to find new uses for older technology. With so many businesses and individuals updating their electronics each time a shiny new release occurs, that leaves a lot of only slightly used electronics gathering dust and winding their way into local landfills. That’s never a good thing. By recycling these electronics, adding a few updates, and making a few cosmetic changes, these “gently used” electronics can help small businesses gain a technological advantage, help poor school districts obtain an academic advantage, and make technology accessible to many who would otherwise be unable to attain it.
Incentivizing Electronics Recycling
The unfortunate reality is that many people simply do not recycle because there is no incentive for them to do so. It is much easier to simply throw the old phone into the garbage can than it is to take it to a local recycling center. For the average person to get on board with the need to recycle electronic waste, there needs to be something in it for them. That is why there are many organizations that offer financial rewards, points systems, and other enticements to encourage people to recycle their electronics.
EVTerra Recycling understands the many challenges associated with the future of electronics recycling. That is why we are always on the cutting edge of modern solutions for e-waste recycling. From household electronics to business systems and electronics, we have the tools and technology to offer effective solutions for all your electronics waste.