With more consumers purchasing more and more electronic gadgets, there is a risk of accelerating the pile-up of waste of the outdated ones. For example, in the U.K., 52% of 16-24-year-olds hold over ten gadgets, 39% of 35-44-year-olds also have ten plus devices, and 30% of age group 55 and 75 years have more than five devices. This is according to a survey conducted by the Royal Society of Chemistry.
This will be problematic in the future because 82% of the total households are not planning to recycle the used gadgets, the society noted. The organization also stated that 51% of households currently hold more than one unused electronic gadget lying around at home. 45% of households own between 2-5 devices. The report also indicated that 25% have an unutilized laptop, and 23 percent have a mobile phone that’s not in use.
Conflict elements + waste pile up = opportunity.
There are numerous “Conflict Elements” contained in mobile devices besides the raw waste; this is elements like gold, indium, which are elements that are rare and toxic elements such as Arsenic. Six of the components used in the mobile phone will be exhausted from their natural sources within 100 years according to the Royal Society of Chemistry indicates.
Report from the World Economic Forum (WEF) shows that the weight of all airplanes ever made are produced as Electrical and electronic waste after they are retired. This is approximately 50 million tons each year. If the current rate continues, the waste products will double and more by 2050. This e-waste presents an opportunity, WEF indicates that the value of the “waste “ material to be at 62.5 billion dollars currently. This is more than three times the output of silver mines in the world and also above the value of gross domestic product output for most countries in Africa and Asia.
The WEF shows that compared to iron ore, the mobile phone has more than 100 times gold in a ton, compared to a ton of gold ore. Besides, it is more environmentally friendly, as it produces significantly less carbon dioxide in the production process. This is considerably less than that originating from the mining of earth crust. This shows that there is an economic opportunity to build a more circular electronics system, “one that that does not lead to waste of the extracted and used electronics,” WEF said. To value, reuse in a way that sustains decent jobs. To conclude, a new version of electronics is needed.