Electronics Recycling and the Data Destruction Industry
The fastest growing segment of recycled material is consumer electronics. The accelerating pace of technology increases the environmental impact. Anything with a cord can now be recycled. This is in response to the growing need for businesses to recycle obsolete electronics.
20 to 50 million tons of electronics waste is discarded globally every year, according to Greenpeace. This “E-waste” is the fastest growing component of the municipal solid waste stream and makes up about 5% of all municipal solid waste.
According to the Electronics TakeBack Coalition, in 2007 41.1 million desktops and laptops, 31.9 computer monitors, and 400 million units of E-waste (DVDs, VCRs, mainframes) were discarded. In 2008, over 3 million tons of E-waste was disposed in the U.S. alone. Aside from the sheer amount of disposed materials, the fact that only 430,000 tons (13.6%) was recycled is alarming. The overall recovery rate of all categories of municipal waste was 33.2% in 2008.
With the amount of information being stored into electronics nowadays, disposal of these must be quite a bit more careful and secure rather than the old tossing on the curb.
Companies are beginning to provide E-waste services across the world, in secure ways and not so secure ways. Some companies specialize in wiping hard drives and refurbishing products for resale and profit. Other companies specialize in complete destruction and selling the scrap metal.
Read our next blog for more information on the difference between wiping and destroying hard drives!