According to a new report by the International Data Corporation, the United States’ electronics recycling industry is booming with 3.5 million tons of electronics recycled in the US in 2010 and resold at home and abroad. The study, the most comprehensive of its kind ever conducted in the US says that the industry employs 30,000 workers and has an estimated revenue of over $5 billion. With US consumers buying more electronics each year, the study says, the industry has nowhere to go from here but up.
“This survey shows a booming electronics recycling industry and prescribes a clear path for even more growth,” said Institute of Scrap Metal Recycling President Robin Wiener. “Electronics recyclers are creating American jobs, adopting an industry standard that will help sustain growth and are recycling electronics here at home.” The study also pointed out that though Americans are the largest consumers of electronics they only make up for 26% of the electronics recycled worldwide. This gap in the waste chain shows a spot for great improvement among US citizens and an area where more education should be directed to inform people about how to recycle electronics instead of sending them to the landfill.
“Increasing household recycling of electronics is a clear challenge that must be addressed by incentivizing the collection of used household equipment,” Wiener said. “Tapping into this market will create even more jobs here at home and significantly reduce the amount of electronics that end up in a landfill.” Of the 3.5 million tons of electronics recycled in the US a whopping 70% of them were processed on our own soil, taking a bit of the pain away from stories of children in developing nations being poisoned by our old circuit boards. We’re hoping Annie Leonard heard the news today and is feeling a bit more satisfied about our electronics life cycle.