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E-scrap industry hit by ‘huge losses’

Austria – Worldwide, electronics recyclers are facing difficult times. Metal prices have declined, the metal content in electronic devices has shrunk while the costs of collection and treatment have risen, Stefan Georg Fuchs of copper recycling major Aurubis told a press conference staged during the 2015 International Electronics Recycling Congress (IERC) held last week in Salzburg, Austria.

‘For some types of computers and other IT equipment, metal content has fallen by more than 50%,’ Fuchs pointed out. ‘At the same time, the costs of collection, treatment and environmentally sound recovery have increased while prices have declined. Today, most non-ferrous and precious metal prices are on the level of four or five years ago.’

As a consequence, said Fuchs, many recycling companies have suffered ‘huge losses or even had to cease operations’. The Aurubis representative went on to underline the importance of improving the collection infrastructure. ‘Increasing the efficiency of collection systems by only a few percent can make the difference between survival and insolvency,’ he suggested.

And he also called on the industry to raise awareness of the importance of proper e-scrap recycling. ‘This counts for all countries worldwide, ranging from the EU to the US to India and Brazil,’ he said.


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