E-waste: the recycling big challenge

  • 22/09/2021
  • Spain

Electronic scrap is one of the fastest growing waste streams in the European Union. However, less than 40% of e-waste is currently recycled, which offers a great business opportunity. 

E-waste are those discarded products that have a battery or plug. Within these products we can consider the categories of large household appliances (washing machines, refrigerators...), IT and telecommunications equipment (laptops, mobile phones...), consumer electronics and photovoltaic panels (screens, music chains...) and small household appliances (coffee machines, hoovers...). 

Within these devices we can find a large amount of recyclable materials that can be given a new useful life, promoting the circular economy. Let's look at some examples of these materials:

- Plastic: electronic products have a good number of their components made of recyclable plastic, such as the outer casings of many of them.  
- Metal: many household appliances contain large metal parts that are highly recoverable for recycling. But not only that, also under this heading we can consider circuits containing: gold, silver, copper and other valuable metals whose recovery is of great benefit. 
- Aluminium: hard disks, once processed, can be turned into aluminium ingots.
- Batteries: cadmium, steel, nickel and cobalt can be obtained from batteries for reuse in new batteries. 

These are just some of the possibilities offered by the recycling of electronic devices and, for this reason, more and more actors in society are focusing on the recycling of this waste with exponential growth.  Not only because of the economic benefits they bring at a business level, but also because they offer great social opportunities for the creation of new job opportunities and for the protection of the environment. 

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