Circular Technologies : How can we solve the problem?
According to the Global E-Waste Monitor estimate the amount of e-waste will reach 74Mt by 2030 with an increase of more than double the amount over a 16 year period (2014-2030). We have already mentioned that the economy, in order to progress in all its sectors, needs more and more high-performance devices, but we have not mentioned that these devices have the highest rate of wear and tear, have a short life cycle (3 to 5 years), have few repair options and are difficult to reuse. All these characteristics make it the fastest growing waste stream in the world and counting that, again according to data provided by the Global E-Waste Monitor, only 17.4%, globally, is recycled properly. We are faced with a problem that grows exponentially at the expense of a slow process of recovery and reuse.
To start addressing the waste problem is needed is what in Environmental Economics called "decoupling", i.e., the reduction of the impact on the environment generated by economic and demographic growth, as a result of a more efficient use of resources or the introduction of technologies that reduce their consumption or the formation of waste at certain levels of production.
There are simply not enough resources to maintain the current growth trend, but there are viable alternatives in the repair and reuse of these devices, and as a last option the disposal and recycling of materials at the end of the life cycle. In terms of numbers (data reported by GEM 2020) amounts to a potential value of 57 billion euros, which could turn e-waste into the new open pit mines.
To this we add a very important fact; since most of CO2e emissions occur in the phase of extraction of raw materials and production (90%) a sustainable policy of reuse and recycling would drastically reduce the emissions of the sector.