The Waste Biz: E-Waste Recycling Poised For Growth

e-waste recycling

e-waste recycling

In our shift to a focus on waste, I’ve wanted to share stories aimed both at individuals and families, as well as the commercial sector. I think we’ve done much better on the former, so to rectify that imbalance a bit, I’ll start regularly posting gleanings from the business side under “The Waste Biz.” Expect research findings, trends, entrepreneurial activity… you know, business stuff!

We all know that there’s a lot of e-waste being created: most of us want the latest thing in terms of gadgets. As a result, computers, cameras, cell phones, and other consumer tech have a replacement rate of five years tops. That rate will continue to shorten as developing economies grow. As an environmentalist, I’m getting a headache; as an entrepreneur, I’m seeing lots of opportunity.

Research publisher Technavio confirms what many might expect: e-waste recycling is poised for growth over the next several years. Their new report Global E-waste Recycling Market 2015-2019Β predicts a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 10.7 % in the sector through the end of the decade.

Sure, the amount of waste being generated will drive that growth, but Technavio also notes that environmental concerns are also spurring activity. According to the company’s press release on the report:

Workers handling the chemicals from e-waste are exposed to serious health risks like damage to the nervous system, cancer, deterioration of metabolism and other similar serious biological effects. E-waste recycling companies have become more cautious about these, and other hazards involved in handling e-waste products.

β€œIncreased awareness of the harmful effects of toxic chemicals in e-waste is the primary reason for the adoption of cautious methods by vendors in the market,” says [Vice President of TechNavio Faisal] Ghaus.

It strikes me that the non-profit/NGO sector has an important role to play in the growth of this sector: maintaining and increasing transparency is critical to addressing the health and environmental concerns poised by e-waste. As long as materials are handled responsibly, and workers receive just treatment, I’m glad to see this industry take off. Yes, I’d prefer a decrease in the amount of waste, but that’s a long-term issue.

What do you think about expected growth in e-waste recycling? Share your thoughts with us in the comments…

Image credit: Shutterstock

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