Electronic Waste


Electronic waste or e-waste describes used electronics devices which are destined for reuse, resale, recycling or disposal. But what happens then? Everybody knows about recycling glass, cans, plastic and paper, but what about electronics? 

E-waste frequently includes unwanted pieces of equipment and used batteries that shouldn’t be treated as regular garbage because they may pose an environmental hazard. 

Commonly, some of the components contain toxic substances such as mercury, lead, cadmium and arsenic. If the disposal is not managed properly, it can be harmful to human health and the environment. 

On the other hand, many elements can be recovered and made into new products, creating a flourishing market interested in buying old devices for parts. 

Functional testing and the device after-life value

While not being particularly significant in terms of weight, typically less than 150 grams, mobile devices have considerable value in their materials and components such as steel, glass, copper, aluminum and plastic.

The camera, display, battery and charger are among the most valuable parts and top candidates for remanufacturing because they are comparatively easy to disassemble and can potentially be used in the production of new devices or in aftermarkets. 

But how do you improve the process of knowing the real value of a used electronic device and its parts? Functional testing and the proper Diagnostics tool are key to capitalising on the opportunity this business segment presents. A mobile device testing application, like Asset Science’s, gives the ability to test devices in minutes and conduct on-the-spot evaluation to maximize the worth of every device and its components.

E-Waste in numbers

The Global E-waste Monitor is a joint project between the United Nations University, the International Telecommunication Union and the International Solid Waste Association (ISWA) to increase awareness about the growing issue of electronic-waste. According to their report:

– 45 million metric tonnes of electronics Worldwide were tossed out in 2016 alone, and the projection for 2021 is 52.2 Mt.  

Potential value of raw materials in e-waste worldwide is 55 Billion Euros. 

– 80% of e-waste is not documented. 

Only 41 countries collect statistics on e-waste. 

– The current rate of responsible e-waste recycling is just 15.5% worldwide

What about the personal information on the device? 

Getting rid of all personal information from electronic devices before recycling, selling or disposing of it is a major concern. 

Consult the manufacturer’s or the owner’s manual for information on how to permanently delete your personal information. 

To be fully confident that data has been permanently erased, many companies uses a Data Erasure solution to ensure that the devices they process are data-free. In addition, this means that they achieve compliance with regulatory bodies.

For more information about this matter download our whitepaper Getting to grips with Data Erasure  

Asset Science offers both Data Erasure and Diagnostics solutions for all points within the mobile device lifecycle.  This approach enables clients ranging from post-warranty insurance repair to those treating devices at the end of their life or resellers to maximize the value and reduce logistic costs.