Waste from Electric and Electronic Equipments (WEEEs) is currently considered to be one of the fastest growing waste streams in the world, with an estimated growth rate of 3% up to 5% per year.
In a recently published paper entitled; Recycling of WEEEs: An economic assessment of present and future e-waste streams, Researchers from the University of Sheffield have found that recycling electronic waste is already worth €2.15bn,(based 2014 figures) and could rise to €3.67bn by 2020.
"The recycling of Electric or electronic waste (E-waste) products could allow the diminishing use of virgin resources in manufacturing and consequently, it could contribute in reducing the environmental pollution." states Professor Lenny Koh from the University of Sheffield, who published the paper.
Given diminishing raw materials and a continuting demand for the manufacture of global electronics, the report highlights the significant revenue gain, more effective recovery of materials could mean for manufacturers. As well as the environment benefits.
Professor Koh goes on to say that; “This research has strong relevance to addressing global issues of materials availability and security, reducing reliance on unused non-renewable materials, especially precious, critical and rare earth materials in manufacturing for sustainability and for consideration for substitution.”
The paper recommends the development of more flexible recycling plants able to intercept different types of end of life products, as well as more collaboration between EEEs manufacturers and recovery centres.