Why Recycle E-Waste?

Author:Suny Group

Many people around the world appreciate the importance of recycling old electronic component and devices. A rash of recycling plants, however, are turning e-waste away. The reason why is more economic than eco-friendly in nature.

Why Recycle E-Waste?

Why Recycle E-Waste?

The electronics market has grown from a few small companies in Silicon Valley to thousands of businesses with influence on nearly every aspect of everyday life. This growth can be linked to the rise of hundreds of thousands of inventions and discoveries that have helped humanity considerably, including smartphones, space exploration, medical science, the cloud, particle accelerators, calculators, and even cats on YouTube via powerful algorithms and neural networks.

However, all of this progress comes with a price tag beyond the cost of R&D and what consumers spend on gadgets. The electronics industry requires unique physical components, namely semiconductor materials such as silicon. Mining operations to unearth more of these precious resources are notoriously damaging to the environment, as are the effects of burying toxic electronics in landfills.

The environmental concerns associated with electronics were ignored for several decades until the 90s when governments around the world began to outlaw harmful substances and increase incentives for recycling materials.

At first, recycling waste was a pain as it was a relatively new technology where the cost to create something from raw materials was lower than the cost to recycle the same material. This cost issue resulted in government schemes designed to encourage businesses to recycle. This included tax cuts, funding for recycling projects, and awareness campaigns.

As time progressed, the cost of recycling went down while efficiency and yields increased. This has turned some recycled material (such as paper) into a viable raw material for production use. However, recycling can be affected by global markets just as much as raw materials.