Last week, the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) showcased many new products and the connected world which we will live in the future.
Imagine cars, household appliances, and your home that seamlessly interact with one another. Cars will be as much computers as they will be vehicles loaded with all sorts of your personal information presenting additional recyclability and reparability issues. And, this is not that far off in the future. In fact, many of these new gadgets and technologies are already available. And, most of these cars, appliances, and other gadgets are made with new materials that are often stronger, lighter, and not made from steel, aluminum, copper, paper, or plastics that we have seen before. More and more products including entire cars are being 3-D printed out of new materials that have not been seen in the recycling streams yet. Household appliances are full of electronics to make them “connected” to your smartphone or your voice commands. Integrating all these electronics with lithium-ion batteries will present new extraordinary challenges for the recycler. Moreover, where will the marketplace be or will there even be a marketplace for the scrap from these new products and materials? As these consumer products industries converge, newer materials are introduced and the product cycles become shorter and shorter, our industry will be thrust into handling all of this very rapidly. These will be the emerging issues for our industry as these products are introduced and begin arriving at scrapyards soon. Please contact Billy Johnson, ISRI’s electronics division liaison with question.