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Electronic Waste Continues to Build and Present Opportunities


eWaste is growing, not just as an accumulation of end of life (EOL) electronics products or components that have obsolesced or been discarded by users, but is also poised to be a rising sector in the electronics supply chain. The continued penetration of semiconductors into end-products, and the rise of electronics more generally, into wider aspects of daily life globally, has led to an increase in the volume of electronic waste (eWaste), as Frost & Sullivan reported earlier this year.


Handling eWaste poses different challenges while opening new opportunities; not only to those who provide services along the reverse logistics value chain, but also to those seeking to improve margins on obsolescent components and devices which fall under Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) directives. Earlier this summer, the European Commission (EC) published the latest revisions to WEEE which were adopted and approved earlier this year. As the amount of WEEE tonnage has increased, member countries are working toward the requirement of 45% of eWaste by 2016, and up to 65% by 2019. As a result of the increase of new eWaste items, such as solar photovoltaics, fluorescents, and items containing mercury, revisions to the WEEE Directives were necessary.

On the supply chain side, among the notable points in the latest WEEE amendments is the approval of large retail shops to take-back small WEEE items. This reverse logistics capability is important, moving the take-back to the retailers who will then turn to knowledgeable partners in reverse logistics for handling eWaste.

Having well-considered and sophisticated reverse logistics in place for electronics is of mounting importance. At the forefront of concerns is the fact that significant amounts of counterfeit and substandard semiconductors and electronic components enter our supply chains from the fraudulent harvesting of eWaste. It is essential to audit reverse logistics supply chain partners just as diligently as sourcing supply chain partners in order to ensure that your compliance to the various regional directives for eWaste handling is met, to prevent and delimit avenues of counterfeiting, to securely erase data from IT products, and also to measure your assets marketability in order to increase ROI. Smith & Associates' customized CycleIT Asset Disposition suite of services are rooted in our quality expertise, secure supply chain asset disposition processes that ensure compliance with environmental regulations, and reduce the hassles of handling high mix electronic returns with maximum flexibility to meet your needs and goals.

Today's supply chain continues to expand, not just into new markets, but in reverse, to properly handle and maximize ROI from the continued increase in volume of eWaste. As we continue to produce more and more eWaste, legislation and regulation covering the handling of eWaste will increase as will the opportunities to realize ROI from these EOL products and components. Diligence along the reverse supply chain is equally important as sourcing because without proper handling, the increase in eWaste could also provide new opportunities for counterfeiters.

Lisa Ann Cairns, Ph.D.
Written on Friday, 31 August 2012 16:11 by Lisa Ann Cairns, Ph.D.

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