Electronic waste (e-waste) is one of the fastest-growing waste streams in the world. However, according to the United Nations, only 20 percent of global e-waste is recycled each year.
Following its success in 2018, the second International E-Waste Day, developed by the WEEE Forum, is October 14. The WEEE Forum, an international association of e-waste collection schemes and its members, developed International E-Waste Day to promote the correct disposal of electrical and electronic equipment throughout the world.
“The volume of e-waste is continually increasing and contains many valuable as well as hazardous materials that should be recovered or properly treated when items are discarded,” said Pascal Leroy, director general of the WEEE Forum, in a statement. “While consumer awareness of how to dispose of e-waste correctly is improving, it is still a struggle to ensure that e-waste is collected and treated by organizations with the correct facilities and channels, thereby guaranteeing that this is done so in a legitimate, safe and environmentally friendly way.”
In today’s world, proper e-waste disposal and recycling is not only important from an environmental and public health standpoint, but data protection and cybersecurity have become major points of concern for government entities, corporations and e-waste recyclers and processors.
When John Shegerian founded Electronic Recyclers International (ERI) back in the early 2000s, cybersecurity wasn’t part of the company’s vernacular. Now, ERI specializes in responsible hardware data destruction and has had all its facilities certified to responsibly handle hardware.
“Responsible hardware data destruction in electronics has become the hot topic,” explains Shegerian. “If you misappropriate your hardware, you just left the whole backdoor open for all sorts of breaches and brand dilution, brand liquidation and lack of trust by the public to happen.”
In this gallery, Shegerian points out the major trends that are converging and driving the business for e-waste recyclers. He also provides insight on how to overcome certain challenges, as well as what lies ahead from a regulatory perspective. In addition, Phil Murphy, senior business development manager for Waste Management, weighs in on how proper recycling of electronics is important for both the environmental and for data security.