E-waste to Precious Metal Market: Overview
Precious metals are used widely in electronic applications, for example, in PCBs of mobile phones, motherboards of computers, and connectors, due to their high conductivity, ability to carry low-ampere current, high sensitivity, and resistance to corrosion. E-waste is a particularly rich source of precious metals with concentrations 40 to 50 times higher than the naturally occurring deposits. Over 320 tons of gold and more than 7,500 tons of silver are used to manufacture new electronic products across the world every year.
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E-waste to Precious Metal Market: Drivers & Restraints
Major factor driving the e-waste recycle is increasing quantity of electronic wastes and growing environment-related concerns. Surging demand for electronic gadgets across a diverse range of applications including security, communication, health, education, food supply, and medicine leads to generation of e-waste. This, in turn, is expected to drive the e-waste to precious metal market. In 2016, 44.7 million metric tons (Mt) of e-waste was generated across the world. As per the International Solid Waste Association, the amount of e-waste generated is expected to increase to 52.2 million metric tons by 2021. Moreover, governments of different countries, original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), and non-profit organizations are taking several initiatives for managing and recycle of the electronic waste. This promotes growth of the market. On the other hand, lack of regulatory and recycling infrastructure and less number of e-waste collection centers are likely to hamper the market during the forecast period. Additionally, low rate of recycling and the policy of no incentives for consumers restrict the e-waste to precious metal market.
E-waste to Precious Metal Market: Key Segments
The global e-waste to precious metal market can be segmented based on metal recovered, source of waste, and region. In terms of metal recovered, the market can be segregated into gold, silver, copper, and others. Based on source of waste, the market can be divided into household appliances, IT & telecommunication, consumer electronics, and others. Amongst sources, household appliances and consumer electronics segments are expected to expand at a significant pace during the forecast period. Refrigerator sets are discarded in the highest number as compared to other household appliances. Decrease in the life span of electronic products such as computers, laptops, and cell phones is generating a large amount of electronic waste.
E-waste to Precious Metal Market: Regional Outlook
In terms of region, the global e-waste to precious metal market can be classified into North America, Asia Pacific, Europe, Latin America, and Middle East & Africa. Europe dominated the global e-waste to precious metal market in 2017, followed by North America. Stringent legal directives and regulations to recover, recycle, and reuse e-waste in Europe are driving the market in the region. The European Union’s Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Directive focuses on maximizing the recycle and reuse of e-waste and minimizing the amount of e-waste disposed of in landfills. According to this directive, every year, a minimum of four kilograms of e-waste per capita should be collected and recycled. The market in the Asia Pacific region is anticipated to expand at a substantial pace during the forecast period, owing to large quantities of e-waste and availability of labor at a low cost in this region. In Asia, the total e-waste generation stood at 18.2 Mt in 2016. China generates the maximum amount of e-waste (i.e. 7.2 Mt) in Asia as well as across the world. Japan generated 2.1 Mt of e-waste, while India generated 2 Mt of e-waste. In these major economies in Asia Pacific, considerable efforts are being taken to regulate the e-waste management system.
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E-waste to Precious Metal Market: Key Players
Key companies operating in the global e-waste to precious metal market are SIMS Metal Management, Ltd., Tetronics International Ltd., Stena Metall AB, Global Electric Electronic Processing Inc., Electronic Recyclers International, Inc., Enviro-Hub Holdings Ltd., Eco-Tech Environmental Services, Inc., American Retroworks, Inc., Universal Recyclers Technologies, and CRT Recycling, Inc.
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