E-Waste Trends and Obstacles.
The recycling industry is in an ongoing battle with the decrease in commodities prices and improper disposal, but the growing sector of e-waste [fraud in] recycling is especially difficult to manage. For example, if e-waste is improperly disposed of, toxic materials could seep into soil and groundwater, as well as pose a risk for those who are handling the e-waste.
While commodities will continue to fluctuate, recyclers are faced with the decline in the value of materials, and in increase in the returns of low-value devices.
Waste360 recently spoke with Jason Linnell, executive director for the National Center for Electronics Recycling, and Eugene Niuh, business development director for Omnisource Electronics Recycling, about the latest e-waste recycling trends and challenges and the future of the e-waste recycling industry. The duo will lead a discussion on electronics recycling trends and markets at WasteExpo in Las Vegas on Wednesday, June 8, 2016.
Waste360: What are the current e-waste recycling trends?
Jason Linnell: Within the industry itself, it has been a very challenging time for the past couple of years with the decline in commodities prices. It affects everybody, but it has really come at an unfortunate time for the e-waste recycling industry because it coincides with the increase of CRTs (Cathode Ray Tubes) coming into recycling streams.
Recycling programs are receiving many old tube-style monitors and televisions, which haven’t been sold for many years in the U.S. This is the challenge for the industry because these items don’t have a lot of valuable material inside them. They have glass that needs to be managed correctly due to its lead content, and it comes at a cost to manage that material. Recyclers are also limited on what to do with the CRT glass because some options that were p
reviously available to turn that glass into new CRT glass have been going away for the last few years.
We have also seen some recyclers go out of business, and we have seen cutbacks in different local collection programs due to the increase in costs. Overall, it’s been a pretty challenging time for the electronics recycling industry.