The Waste Biz: The Costs – And Opportunities – Of E-Waste

e-waste dump

Electronic waste – or e-waste – has created some of the most dramatic images of our wasteful ways: photographsΒ from dumps in the developing world look like scenes straight out of a Mad Max movie. Yet this waste stream continues to grow as we in the developed world cycle through our devices at faster and faster rates.

John Shegerian of Electronic Recyclers International has a great overview of the challenges presented by our growing pile of discarded electronics, and some of the opportunities presented by this waste, today at Triple Pundit. We’ve certainly looked at the environmental impact of e-waste; Shegerian also takes note of the security threat posed by improper disposal of cell phones, computers, and other devices that contain our data.

Local governments and big box stores like Best Buy and Staples are getting in on the game here – truthfully, I’m kind of surprised that more entrepreneurs haven’t gotten into the “urban mining” possibilities here. Know of start-ups getting into electronic waste and processing, or existing companies dipping their toes in? Tell us about them…

More news from the waste space:

Landfill methane also on EPA’s radar: Carbon emissions from power plants have gotten most of the attention lately, but the Obama administration is also targeting methane emissions from landfills for further regulation. Specifically, these policies reduce the threshold at which landfill owners have to take responsibility for the emissions of this powerful greenhouse gas. (via Waste Dive)

Turning wine waste in biofuel: Once those grapes are pressed, there’s a lot of material left over from wine making. Called “marc,” grape waste could serve as an ideal feedstock for the production of ethanol, according toΒ PhD candidate Kendall Corbin. With 13 million tonnes (or 14.3 tons) of marc produced annually, that could mean a lot of biofuel without taking acres of land out of production for food.

Photo credit: Shutterstock


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