Sustainability Report 2014
The recycling of electronic waste is not just a priority issue for us at El-Kretsen, but something that attracts widespread attention and interest. Along with social and environmental considerations, consumer patterns, technological updates and manufacturing processes all play a part in giving rise to the complex questions that surround the electronics industry. We are dealing with a multifaceted issue which affects people far and wide. The UN has estimated that approximately 58 million tonnes of electronic products were sold globally in 2012 and that in 2014, a total of 42 million tonnes of electronic products were scrapped. To put a perspective on things, Sweden has contributed less than 0,5 per cent of these volumes. Here at El-Kretsen our primary task is to collect and deal with Sweden’s 150,000 tonnes of electronics waste in a responsible way.
The current trend is to integrate electronics and batteries in an ever-growing range of products. These products are in turn becoming smaller and smarter – and, as a result, more complex. The previously favoured precious metals gold, copper and silver are being replaced by new rare materials, and metal casings are being replaced by plastic ones. The use of new and different materials gives rise to new problems and new questions regarding both production and recycling. This means that one of the major challenges in the recycling world is to keep up with the development of new products. Another exciting and considerable challenge is finding cost-efficient, environmentally sound methods of harvesting and recycling materials which are only represented in small quantities or in laminates, but which would have a considerable effect on the environment at the mining or production stage.