First 2021 issue!
That’s why his team provide detailed
repair guides for virtually all electronic
products currently on the market. The
iFixit team also ranks how easy or
‘downright impossible’ it is to take
apart, replace components, and reas-
semble the gadgets created by big
‘Our recent user survey shows that peo-
ple successfully fix an average of seven
products thanks to our platform,’ the
ceo adds. ‘Repair is the cornerstone of
a truly circular economy. I’d say we have
to think about the innermost loops of a
product first before getting lost in the
concept of the very broad loop that is
the recycling industry.’
The researchers are also building a reac-
tor that can relithiate end-of-life cathodes
back to 95% of their original capacity.
right to repair
‘Some people say that repair fanatics
are stealing products from the recy-
cling sector. Others claim recyclers
process things that ought to be
repaired first. Whatever you think, we
are all dealing with complex, new
gadgets,’ says Kyle Wiens, ceo of
online repair community iFixit.
According to Wiens, the real question
is: can we convince consumers not to
buy every single new item as soon as
it hits the shelves? Can we get them
to hold on to what they own a little bit
longer? ‘New products are often
badly made from a recycling and dis-
mantling point of view,’ he argues.
cyBercriMinals hacK away at coronavirus e-waste
the coronavirus crisis is distracting people from think-
ing critically about responsible end-of-life electronics
management – and specifically data destruction –
according to a leading recycler.
‘The hacking of used hardware is an overlooked crime’
was the key message from John Shegerian, ceo of elec-
tronics recycler ERI, during the E-waste World event. He
calls this illegal activity ‘the greatest little secret of the
cyber security world’.
Healthcare IT is a major market with a value expected to
exceed US$ 390 billion (EUR 330 billion) by 2024 and one
that is increasingly attracting criminals. Interpol is warn-
ing that hospitals are being targeted at a time when they
obviously have other things to think about. ‘It’s an insult
to those working on the frontline of the crisis we find
ourselves in,’ Shegerian says.
Breach always possiBle
Shegerian points out that cybercrime cost the world econo-
my US$ 3 trillion in 2015 and the figure is projected to dou-
ble by next year. He laments that people have only recently
started talking about the fate of used electronics. ‘The men-
ace of misappropriated e-waste simply wasn’t on the radar.
But we have to bear in mind that no company and no
household is immune to being breached,’ he cautions.
Following the outbreak of the pandemic, more electron-
ics are being purchased for a range of activities including
setting up home offices and tackling infection rates.
Shegerian says this opens up a new chapter for data
security. ‘Most people are staying in, working from
their living room or study. But are their personal
computers as secure as the ones at the office? Unlikely.
This means recyclers offering data destruction
services will have a tonne more customers in the coming
The switch from 4G to 5G is also going to create more
electronic waste. ‘Think of autonomous cars using 5G to
access live maps for real-time navigation,’ the recycler
says as illustration. Meanwhile, the number of internet-
connected (IoT) devices is projected to grow from rough-
ly 14 billion currently to 21 billion by 2025.
They include small consumer products such as smart
watches, digital doorbell systems, voice-operated speak-
ers and thermostats that can be controlled from a phone.
‘These wonderful gadgets did not even exist when we
founded ERI 17 years ago. Now, they’re popping up
everywhere,’ Shegerian says. ‘But let’s face it, greater
connectivity will create more waste and create bigger
16-17-18-19-20-21_e-wasteconference.indd 20 02-02-21 09:04