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Where in the world does your e-waste go?

HuffPo: “In a sparse and sprawling factory complex on the outskirts of Shanghai, thousands of tiny plastic resin pellets are shivering along narrow conveyor belts, ready to be transformed into something new. The dark pellets are unremarkable at first glance, resembling any plastic granule used for manufacturing. But follow their journey from consumer to conveyor belt, and their significance — particularly for the world’s burgeoning electronic waste crisis, and what companies and their customers can do to address it — becomes clear.  The pellets are made from a blend of virgin plastic and the recycled product of some of the millions of pounds of e-waste that Dell, the American computer giant, collects from consumers every year.  In 2017, Dell said it gathered more than 177 million pounds of used electronics from people in 83 participating countries and territories. If you were one of these consumers, this Chinese factory ― run by Dell’s Taiwanese recycling partner, Wistron Corp. ― might be where parts of your old laptop or PC ended up…”

…Computers and phones contain materials that can be salvaged and repurposed, like plastic and metals like gold and silver. In 2016, the estimated value of recoverable raw materials in discarded e-waste was more than $55 billion globally, according to a United Nations University report. As the researchers pointed out, that’s “more than the 2016 Gross Domestic Product of most countries in the world.” As it stands, however, only a fraction of the world’s e-waste gets recycled. Shantanu Bhattacharya, a supply chain expert and professor at Singapore Management University, told HuffPost that only about 15 percent to 25 percent of the world’s e-waste is recycled or reused…”

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