Waste Not
Record Amount of Electronics Recycled in 2013

The consumer electronics (CE) industry recycled a record 620 million pounds of electronics in the United States in 2013, according to a new report by the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA).

The total is more than double the amount (300 million pounds) of three years ago, as stated in the report, the Third Annual Report of the eCycling Leadership Initiative. The 2013 U.S. ecycling total is an increase of 35 million pounds over the 2012 level (585 million pounds).

The eCycling Leadership Initiative includes a stretch goal to increase the amount of electronics recycled responsibly to one billion pounds annually by 2016, also known as the Billion Pound Challenge. The Initiative also plans to grow the number of collection opportunities available to consumers, improve consumer awareness of available ecycling collection sites and provide transparent metrics on ecycling efforts.

The report also highlights:

  • Apple, Best Buy, Dell, and DIRECTV set themselves apart as Initiative Leaders, each recycling more than 125 percent of the consumer hardware recycling goals set by CEA for 2013.
  • By the end of last year, more than 99 percent recycling by eCycling Leadership Initiative participants was conducted in third-party certified recycling facilities;
  • More than 8,000 responsible recycling locations are now available to consumers throughout the continental U.S., Alaska, Hawaii and Puerto Rico.

“We want to make recycling electronics as easy as purchasing electronics,” said Gary Shapiro, president and CEO, CEA. “Electronics recycling is a national issue, and CEA continues to work toward a national solution to replace the complicated patchwork of rules that varies from state to state.”

More than 50 million tons of e-waste is produced worldwide each year from discarded smartphones, tablets, computers and other electronics, but recycling is just one way to deal with it. In October, an Italian biotech firm called Bio-on announced that it developed a bioplastic called PHA (Polyhydroxyalkanoate), made from agricultural processing waste materials, which is 100 percent biodegradable in water and soil and can be used as a substrate for electric circuits. When combined with suitable nanofillers, the polymer can act as an electricity conductor, with the potential of replacing plastics in most electronics. This could go a long way in helping to reduce the world’s mounting e-waste problem.

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