E-Waste to Green Profits: the Advantage of Electronics Recycling

In Chamber Blog by admin

As the year comes to a close, millions of us will be buying or receiving new electronic devices. Holiday gift-giving may mean new phones, drones, TVs, remote-controlled cars, and thousands of other items that contain batteries, printed circuit boards, mixed metals, and plastic. New technology is great, but what is the plan for your older items? Rather than hiding your old electronics in a drawer or closet or packing them in a box to gather dust in an attic or garage, consider disposing of obsolete electronics in a green and environmentally friendly manner by recycling your old electronics.

Globally, there will be around 50 million metric tons—110 billion pounds—of e-waste generated in 2023. That is a lot of electronics! By 2030, the volume of e-waste disposed of annually is expected to grow to over 150 million metric tons. Recycling electronics instead allows the recovery of metals like gold, nickel, cobalt, aluminum, and more. Known as “urban mining,” recycling electronics offers a triple benefit: we’ve reduced our environmental footprint by lessening the need for metal mining while eliminating e-waste, we provide a domestic manufacturing resource for these metals, and the recycling industry itself provides jobs that support our communities. The more material we recover from urban mining, the less old-school mining the world will need.

Recycling is critical with metals such as the gold used in circuit boards. Gold is virtually indestructible, and our Earth has a finite supply. What happens to gold that ends up in a landfill? The answer is nothing happens. It will remain unusable and buried for eternity. That makes recycling all the more important. Recovering metals like gold, nickel, cobalt, and aluminum will ensure that these metals have more than a single-use lifespan while providing a degree of metal feedstock capacity for our domestic manufacturing industries. Having a domestic supply of these metals on hand can help insulate our manufacturers from any geopolitical issues in the future.

Recycling electronics has an additional advantage: security. Instead of leaving personal or corporate secrets on old electronics where nefarious players could take advantage, recycling offers a permanent end to any digital files, passwords, and sensitive data stored within them. I encourage my fellow members to incorporate electronics recycling into their Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) programs. In the spirit of the holidays, on-site collections and education programs make for an excellent employee activity!

So this holiday season, enjoy your new electronics to their fullest, but please also consider how your old electronics could find new life through recycling!

This blog post provided by member Lila Gloyd, SVP Sales and Marketing, GreenChip Recycling.