The UN estimates the global volume of discarded hi-tech hardware sent to landfills to be 50 million metric tons a year. Can there be any doubt that recycling discarded electronics is a hot business opportunity for the future?
What the problem
is all about
The UN estimates that people and organizations discard 50 million tons of electronics per annum. Only 16% gets recycled or reused, while the rest goes to landfills. To make room for new incoming shipments of discarded computers, washing machines and toasters, landfill operators burn the ones already there, or put them into holes in the ground — either method is cheaper than recycling. This is also very bad for the environment, according to the Basel Action Network: lead, mercury, cadmium, chromium, acids and other toxic chemicals poison the soil, water and air.
The problem is further exacerbated by the fact that discarded electronics are the fastest-growing kind of garbage on planet Earth. Back in 2008, residents of the US and Western Europe replaced their computers once every six years. Now they cycle through their new hardware three times as fast, buying a new one every other year, according to Statista.
To curb this expansion of electronic junk, people do not necessarily have to refrain from buying that latest and greatest new gadget (although that would not be a bad idea, either). All they have to do is be responsible consumers, making sure their electronic equipment operates as long as possible and recycling the devices and gadgets they no longer use or need.