Increasingly, electronics OEMs are thinking about the sustainability of their products, perhaps due to increasing awareness on the part of consumers. Many are introducing products with an eye toward designs that have less environmental impact and are easier to recycle.
Still, only about 29% of all e-waste is recycled even though nearly 100% of e-waste is recyclable. Computers are most often recycled (40% of the time) while mobile devices (11%) and computer peripherals (10%) are least often kept from the waste stream, according to the Electronics Takeback Coalition.
The news isn’t all bad though. We have gotten better about it. In fact, in 2000, only about 10% of e-waste was recycled. In 2016, the industry-led eCycling Leadership Initiative recycled more than 700 million pounds of consumer electronics at 8,300 collection locations in the United States.
Consumer technology companies are leading the charge for responsible recycling. Consumer electronics have the fastest growing recycling rate of any product category in the United States, according to 2014 data (the most recent available) from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
At the same time, consumers have to do their part. Every day, people have access to a greater array of electronic devices, from smartphones, laptops and tablets to streaming sticks, wearables, and consoles. On average, the typical digital consumer in the world now owns 3.64 of them, the Global Web Index estimated.
The infographic below from MyTrendyPhone.co.uk offers some great insights about this topic from a global perspective as well as some stats on the United Kingdom.
— Hailey Lynne McKeefry, Editor in Chief, EBN