Electronic Scrap Recycling (E-Waste) Long Island

New Study on E-Waste in the United States

Posted on December 20, 2011 · Posted in PK Metals Blog

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A new report issued by the International Data Corporation (IDC), which can be reviewed here, provides some statistics on the growth of the E-Waste Industry in the United States. Technology is advancing so rapidly that electronic equipment can become outdated and inefficient at a much faster pace. E-Waste, Electronic Waste, is the new buzz word that describes discarded electronics.

As globalization continues to accelerate, E-Waste will play a major role in the development of emerging economies. Responsible reuse of electronics equipment can create jobs, and continue to be a major export for the United States.

Here are some of the key highlights on the IDC E-Waste report:

  • Contributed $5.2 billion to the U.S. economy (up from less than $1 billion in 2002)
  • Employed more than 30,000 full-time employees (up from 6,000 in 2002 and when non-profit organizations are includes, could be above 45,000 in 2010)
  • Collected and processed domestically more than 3.5 million tons of used and end-of-life electronics in 2010 (up from 600,000 tons in 2002).
  • Of the 3.5 million tons being collected and recycled in America, 70% by weight is processed in the United States and sold at home or the global marketplace as commodity grade scrap, such as steel, aluminum, copper, precious metals recovered from circuit boards, glass and plastics.
  • While American households account for most of the new electronics market, they only contribute about 26% to the electronics recycling market. Indeed, 74.1% of the electronics being recycled in the America originate from business and commercial entities.

It is clear that the E-Waste business has grown over the past decade. However, as the business continues to expand globally, challenges lay ahead. Some have taken an issue on how best to regulate E-Waste. For example, critics say that lax regulation can cause developed nations to export E-Waste to foreign countries without any oversight. In the United States, certifications (such as R2, ISO, etc) can certify companies to handle E-Waste. This allows e-recycling companies to operate under the same set of regulations. It is important that the customer know their vendor and understand the process on how their obsolete electronic equipment is being recycled

As we have discussed in this series of columns, there is plenty of room for growth in the E-Waste sector. The study provides statistics for the relationship between retail and commercial E-Waste recycling. Commercial entities account for nearly ¾ of the market, and it clear that technological advances will continue to support this growth.