On April 22nd, we celebrated the 47th annual Earth Day with the rest of the world. The modern environmental movement that started in 1970 has never been more relevant than it is today—especially as the volume of electronics in the world increases exponentially.
One key component of Earth Day is the effort to educate more people about environmental sustainability. And if we want the electronics industry to contribute to a more sustainable environment, we have to understand our role.
In honor of Earth Day, let’s take a look at how we’re impacting the push for a more sustainable environment.
The Global State of Electronics in a Sustainable Environment
When Apple introduced its own iPhone trade-in program, they changed the perception of our industry’s role in environmental sustainability. In 2015 alone, Apple recovered over 61 billion tons of material for reuse.
However, there’s so much more that can be done globally for electronic sustainability:
- Today, only 8% of recycled cell phones are disposed of safely and sustainably
- Of the 2.4 million tons of disposed electronics in 2016, just 25% were collected for recycling
With such a large margin for improvement, it’s clear that we as an industry could do more for sustainability. Protecting our environment should be enough to motivate anyone to do more (both on Earth Day and throughout the year), but our industry stands to benefit economically as well.
The Sustainable Smartphone Market (and Its Economic Potential)
At this point, there are 307 million smartphone subscribers in the United States alone (2 billion globally)—each of whom spent an average of about $550 for his/her device. And yet, when these consumers head to a carrier to upgrade to the latest smartphone, only 30% recycle the old device.
Despite low recycling rates, the value of a sustainable electronics industry is already significant:
- There is a $17 billion opportunity for carriers to capitalize on in the secondary device market
- In 2016 alone, our industry enjoyed $4 billion in revenue from recycling
- By 2020, 180 million devices will be recycled
- These recycled devices will result in an e-waste market valued between $25 billion and $50 billion annually
However, part of the sustainability problem for our industry is inefficient processes—how can consumers recycle their devices if we don’t make it easy for them to do so?
And how can we properly recycle e-waste without the right logistics in place? This is why it helps to partner with a company like HYLA.
Contributing to the Sustainable Electronics Industry
Part of our mission at HYLA is to help the mobile ecosystem maximize its sustainability efforts. Celebrating Earth Day and implementing sustainable processes can drive value for both customers and stakeholders if done correctly.
- We support more than 250 million mobile customers across 15,000 retail locations
- We’ve dealt $2.5 billion to consumers for recycling efforts
- The HYLA facility has processed 42 million devices since its inception
- Average recycled devices are almost 2.5 years old
- The average trade-in value we helped transfer to consumers in 2016 was $150
We have a long way to go before we have a truly sustainable environment. But on Earth Day 2017, let’s all take a step back and think about how we’re impacting the movement.
If you want to learn more about the sustainable electronics industry, check out our Earth Day infographic.
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