What you need to know about e-waste

Electronic waste can be given new purpose and save the environment in the long run.
Electronic waste can be given new purpose and save the environment in the long run.
15 March 2023 •

Technology has become such an integral part of our daily lives that our daily technological conveniences, such as smartphones and laptops, are becoming increasingly indispensable.

But what happens to these devices when we no longer need them?

Mountains of discarded electronic devices have surfaced around the world. 50 million tons of electronic waste, or e-waste, are estimated to be produced globally each year.

In 2022, Asia has one of the highest amount of e-waste, pegged at 24.9 million tons, contributing close to half of the world's total e-waste.

Handling e-waste is no easy feat

Types of e-waste

Discarded electrical and electronic devices powered by an electrical source are considered e-waste. They are mostly made up of metal and plastic components, as well as small amounts of heavy metals.

These electronic products often contain up to 1,000 different substances, including valuable materials such as copper and gold, and rare metals like indium and palladium. However, these valuable materials are often mixed with others during the recycling process.

While many of these metals could be recovered, recycled, and reused in new goods, many are hazardous and hard to treat. And getting them to the right place is even more complex.

Larger household appliances, for instance, require different collection and preparation for recycling.

Only 20 percent of appliances were documented to be collected and recycled. Unfortunately, the amount of high-value, recoverable materials, estimated at USD 62.5 billion, were mostly dumped or burned rather than being collected for treatment and reuse.

How to dispose of e-waste?

How to dispose e-waste infographic

Taking a circular approach

Keeping e-waste out of landfills, however, should start from the beginning. This can be done with the help of e-waste recovery management solutions.

Recovery management looks at reverse logistics, paired with repair, refurbishment, and recycling options to manage end-of-life appliances into an end-to-end circular model. Businesses might even generate additional income streams by adopting the circular approach.

Reuse, repair and recycle

As e-waste volumes increase amidst a shortage in raw materials and precious metals, the key to sustainability lies with e-waste reuse and recycling.

The need for consumers to be aware and do their part to recycle their e-waste through proper recycling channels has never been more pressing.

Logistics companies, in this case, are here to help consumers give these end-of-life appliances a chance at a new life.