Smartphones, smartwatches, fitness armbands, and other Internet of Things (IoT) devices have become more common in our everyday lives, and they will continue to play an important role in the future.
An increase in IoT devices will also lead to more e-waste. However, the extent to which this e-waste will impact the environment will depend largely on how electronics recyclers innovate their processes and services.
In 2018, the number of IoT connected devices is greater than the world population. This number will surpass 10 billion by 2020 and may rise to 30 to 50 billion by 2030. That may seem alarming, but what’s even more shocking is the potential environmental impact these devices could have.
Consumers demand more from IoT devices
It’s well known that most IoT devices have a lot of dangerous elements inside. These range from heavy metals such as lead, mercury, cadmium, and beryllium, to hazardous chemicals like brominated flame retardants. Improper disposal of these toxic substances not only causes damage to the environment, but they also affect the health of many communities.
Consumers are often excited to explore all the cool things they can do with their new devices, but rarely think about what happens after the device’s disposal. Just like the millions of devices that have been released in the past few years, “Smart” devices are subject to Moore’s law and become obsolete very quickly. As more people replace their old devices, the need for electronics recycling will grow.
Electric cars may also pose a threat to the environment in the future. Currently, most electric cars use huge lithium-ion batteries. These batteries often have as much lithium as thousand smartphones, or even more, depending on the model. Eventually, these batteries will need to be replaced, and that could present a variety of challenges.
UN estimates the value of precious metals from e-waste: gold, palladium, platinum, lithium, silver and similar – to be $60 billion. As the world becomes increasingly globalized and infrastructures improve, the demand for IoT devices in developing countries will also increase, leading to more demand for precious metals.
Choosing the right electronics recycler
Just because you gave your old gadgets to a recycler, it doesn’t mean it will be recycled. Some dishonest companies export e-waste to landfills in Africa and Asia. These landfills use cheap laborers who manually harvest reusable materials.
When laborers finish harvesting, huge piles of scrap remain behind. Once the storage space runs out, the excess waste is dumped into the ocean. Don’t be surprised if you see one of your old gadgets washed up on the US shore one day.
The good news is that getting rid of your electronics devices is a relatively easy process when you work with a reputable e-waste recycler like Securis.
We have been an R2 certified electronics recycler since 2013 and joined the GSA Schedule 36 of approved contractors to provide data destruction services to the United States Government in 2007.
Our industry experience, combined with our unique expertise in e-waste recycling makes an ideal partner for your IoT electronics waste needs. Contact us today to learn more about our services.