The IT & electronics industry is the world's largest and fastest-growing industry. Being increasingly inclined towards technology has resulted in the generation of large quantities of electronic waste (e-waste), and there is a crucial need for an effective management solution for handling this kind of waste. Every day, new and better electronic devices are launched and released, thus leaving the old devices outdated, outmoded, and obsolete. In search of getting the most updated versions of devices, individuals dispose of the old equipment with no hesitation.
If the problem of ocean plastic pollution finally grabbed the world’s attention in 2018, the ebb and flow of public opinion could and should turn to the heightening issue of electronic waste — which is becoming a global crisis. The numbers are astonishing; more than 50 million tonnes of electronic waste are generated each year, and it has been estimated that the number will grow more than double to 120 million tonnes by 2050. The United Nations (UN) calls it a tsunami of e-waste.
The governments of different regions have undertaken several initiatives for the proper management of electronic waste. As per Straits Research's latest report on the e-waste management market, the overall market was valued at USD 2.6 billion in 2017 and is projected to grow at a CAGR of 13.5% during the forecast period, 2019-2026. The top 10 players in the e-waste management market are discussed below, who are taking initiatives for recycling e-waste to reduce pollution and environmental hazards.
MBA Polymers, Inc. is among the world's leading e-cycling companies offering waste management solutions for end-of-life durable goods such as electronics, computers, autos, and appliances. In July 2019, the company acquired a new recycling plant for electronic equipment waste in Mauna, Germany. The new plant has the capacity of recycling up to 17.500 metric tons of electronic and electrical waste to produce post-consumer plastic for the European market.
In December 2017, MBA Polymers, Inc. founded a fully-owned plant in Pune, India, to supplement its e-waste management business. This unit has the capacity of recycling up to 100 metric tons of electric and electronic equipment waste (WEEE) to produce post-consumer plastic for the flourishing Indian and Asian markets.
One of the trustworthy companies when it comes to e-cycling and e-waste management, Enviro-Hub Holdings Ltd., also works as an investor in the management of industrial and commercial properties. The Singapore-based company is engaged in the refining of platinum group metals (PGM), construction works, conversion of plastics to fuel, and rental and servicing of machinery and equipment. Its revenue for 2018 was USD 26.2 million.
Global Electric Electronic Processing Inc. (GEEP) — a part of The Giampaolo Group of Companies —is an industry leader when it comes to electronic asset management and e-cycling services. The Canadian company specializes in I.T. asset disposition (ITAD) by providing support and solutions to reuse and recycle e-waste. In September 2019, GEEP Canada merged with Shift Group to form Quantum Lifecycle Partners — the most vertically integrated e-cycler and ITAD services provider in Canada.
Electronic Recyclers International, Inc. (ERI) is a leading global provider of waste management solutions for end-of-life electronic devices. The company has eight certified facilities in the U.S. with the capacity of recycling more than 1 billion pounds of electronic devices annually. In December 2018, ERI and New York City Department of Sanitation (DSNY) came together to launch the ecycleNYC program, which has now successfully collected and recycled more than 20 billion pounds of e-waste from the residents of New York City.
Aurubis AG is a German-based company specializing in the production of copper and precious metals and the largest copper recycler globally. In FY2018, the company generated revenue of approximately USD 1.12 billion. In 2019, Aurubis AG acquired e-waste management company Metallo Group for roughly USD 420.7 million to strengthen its e-cycling business. This acquisition makes Aurubis AG the leading solution provider in Europe when it comes to processing complex recycling raw materials.
Boliden AB is a Swedish company majorly involved in the mining and smelting of metals and related operations. The company operates through two major segments — Business Area Smelters and Business Area Mines. The Business Area Smelters deals with the sales of the company's products from mines to smelters as well as handling all raw material supplies; The Business Area Mines primarily deals with lead recycling and the production of zinc and copper.
Boliden AB posted USD 5.1 billion in revenue in 2018, with the company's Business Area Smelters and Business Area Mines segments contributing USD 5 billion and USD 1.7 billion, respectively. Today, Boliden AB continues to push boundaries in the global e-waste management market, making it one of the world’s most popular recycling companies.
Sims Metal Management Ltd. is a U.S.-based metals and electronics recycling company, offering innovative solutions to the rising global concerns of resource scarcity and waste management. In 2017, the company successfully processed nearly 10 million tonnes of end-of-life electronic goods, appliances, auto parts, and demolition scrap to be reused as new commodities. The company's total revenue for FY18 was a staggering USD 6.64 billion, marking a 3% increase over the previous year.
Umicore is among the world's leading materials technology companies specializing in the recycling, purifying, transformation, and marketing of cobalt and nickel materials. The company recorded USD 3.8 billion in revenues in 2018, marking a 3% increase over the previous year. Umicore expects a strong performance in revenues and earnings in 2020 despite a deterioration in key markets, especially the automotive sector.
In November 2019, Umicore partnered with M.G. Motor India for recycling batteries of end-of-life auto parts, specifically for the upcoming electric SUV ZS EV. In December 2019, the company collaborated with automaker Audi for recycling nickel and cobalt contained in the batteries of the Audi e-tron. The recovered materials will be used in precursor and cathode materials, thereby progressing towards the goal of achieving an overall carbon-neutral balance by 2050.
Trojan Electronics Ltd. is one of the largest service providers in Europe, offering e-waste management & ITAD services. The company operates through four segments — Multi-channel E-commerce; Returns, Refurbishment, and Recoup; Electronic Manufacturing; and ITAD Services. Trojan handles web stores for clients, e.g., one of its clients is the U.K.'s leading retailer, and the company manages and runs an eBay outlet store on their behalf.
Accenture is among the world's leading tech companies providing a wide range of services in strategy and consulting, and technology and operations. As per the company 2017 Corporate Citizenship report, Accenture has made a significant move towards reducing its environmental footprint, especially with regards to carbon emissions — reducing 52% carbon emissions per employee. The company's top priorities include its reuse and recycling efforts, along with e-waste management and reducing water shortage.