A Sound Supply Chain
is Key to Responsible
Antony Francis is chief
executive officer of Green-
BY ANTONY FRANCIS
anagement of electronic waste, otherwise
known as e-waste, is one of the hottest
growth sectors in the recycling industry.
From commercial to consumer technology, the
insatiable appetite for technology drives a need to
obtain the latest and greatest cell phone or ultra-
While this has translated to improved perform-
ance, the consequence is mountains of outdated or
end-of-life equipment that must be addressed. The
numbers are staggering. According to recent gov-
ernment calculations, the United States generates
approximately 2. 5 million tons of e-waste annually.
This amount shows no signs of decline, and will
most likely only increase.
The responsible disposal of e-waste ranging
from plastics and glass to heavy and precious
metals is becoming a major point of concern for
both individuals and corporations. As such, e-
waste and “green recycling” has gained significant
momentum in recent years. However, there is a
perception from some that e-waste equates to lit-
tle more than handling scrap, and, unfortunately,
the lack of regulation doesn’t support the con-
trary. Only 24 states currently have any laws per-
taining to e-waste, and, surprisingly, there are no
federal mandates whatsoever.
It has been left to private industry to define the
category of e-waste management and lead the
charge to keep this material from landfills, while
attempting to generate as much value as possible.
Regardless of the motive, be it revenue generation
or legitimate concern for the environment, it is clear
that relying on government to control the problem
is impractical at this point.
The supply chain serves a critical role in the col-
lection, transport and processing of e-waste. When
managing this material, a viable logistics network is
fundamental to the integrity of the environment, as
well as the value created by recycling or re-market-
For the vast majority of populated areas, landfills
are running out of space, and there is little room for
expansion. With an influx of e-waste to an already
strained situation, a tipping point is on the horizon.
Progress in overall societal attitudes as well as
advancement in technology and processes have
made recycling, harvesting and re-marketing of e-
waste economically viable. Quite simply, the time
to fulfill the goal for “zero landfill” of this material
has never been more appropriate.
Beyond environmental protection, a huge compo-
nent of e-waste management is controlling the per-
sonal or sensitive data that resides on virtually every
electronic device. It is imperative to work with an e-
waste management partner that has the expertise,
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