Fashion, fad or function, consumer technology is constantly evolving with new and improved models of our favourite gadgets being released more and more regularly. The result? More than 50 million tonnes of electronic rubbish are generated every year, according to the Global E-waste Monitor.
The rubbish weighs more than all the commercial airliners ever made, yet only 20% is being recycled.
Clean Earth Technologies is developing a variety of solutions for responsible, safe and efficient e-waste management and recycling.
The risks are huge but the opportunities are even bigger, with more than US$62.5 billion a year in precious metals like gold and copper available for recovery and many new jobs in the offing.
United Nations Under-Secretary-General David Malone said, “Our research and advocacy on sustainable e-waste practices are helping to place this issue on the global political agenda, but more action is needed to stem the ever-increasing tide of e-waste.”
E-waste contains toxic substances like lead, mercury, cadmium and beryllium, polluting PVC plastic and flame retardants which present considerable environmental and health risks if disposed of or treated incorrectly. If these products end up in landfill, the hazardous chemicals can leak and pollute surrounding water sources.
Clean Earth Technologies is acting on this call, developing methods to handle e-waste with increasingly efficient and safer processes of recycling. The end goal is to recycle and repurpose e-waste such that little to no by-products are generated, and valuable base metals and other useful materials can be recovered.
*Source: United Nations University