– According to a new report conducted by the well-respected International Data Corporation (IDC), a global market research provider with nearly 50 years of experience in information technology and consumer technology markets, the U.S. electronics recycling industry has grown tremendously in the past decade to become a bright spot in an otherwise sluggish economy. While varied organizations have issued studies in the past, the new IDC report is among the most comprehensive, definitive and exhaustive studies of a relatively young industry that is written about often but not as often portrayed accurately.
“Approximately 3.5 million tons of electronics were recycled by the recycling industry in the United States in 2010, employing more than 30,000 workers with an estimated revenue of over $5 billion,” said David Daoud, IDC’s Research Director.
“This survey shows a booming electronics recycling industry and prescribes a clear path for even more growth,” said ISRI President Robin Wiener. “Electronics recyclers are creating American jobs, adopting an industry standard that will help sustain growth and are recycling electronics here at home.”
The survey’s findings point to even more possible growth considering that while American households account for most of the new electronics market, they only contribute about 26% to the electronics recycling market.
“Increasing household recycling of electronics is a clear challenge that must be addressed by incentivizing the collection of used household equipment,” Wiener said. “Tapping into this market will create even more jobs here at home and significantly reduce the amount of electronics that end up in a landfill.”
Of the more than 3.5 million tons of used and end-of-life electronics collected the survey shows 70 percent by weight is processed in the United States and sold at home or in the global marketplace as commodity grade scrap, such as steel, aluminum, copper, precious metals recovered from circuit boards, glass and plastics. Ten percent is resold as functioning equipment and components for direct resell, and less than 18 percent is resold as equipment and components for further repair and refurbishment.
The survey also sheds light on the increasing demand for downstream accountability, data security and legal compliance domestically and abroad. An increase in third-party audited, comprehensive, premium recycling standards like R2/RIOS™ are expected to increase and will help recyclers’ accountability, health and safety and bottom line.
A Washington, D.C. based trade association; ISRI represents more than 1,600 private, for-profit companies operating at more than 7,000 facilities in the United States and 30 countries worldwide. ISRI members are processors, brokers and industrial consumers of scrap commodities, including ferrous and nonferrous metals, paper, electronics, rubber, plastics, glass and textiles. ISRI's associate members include both equipment and service providers for the scrap recycling industry.