Australian e-waste recycler, Sircel is challenging manufacturers to help reduce landfill and drive the circular economy by thinking smarter about product development to minimise the environmental impact of e-waste.

According to Sircel CEO, Anthony Karam, electronics manufacturers could make a huge difference to the e-recycling industry by considering ‘end-of-life’ solutions during the design phase of electronic devices such as mobile phones, coffee machines, televisions, power tools and computers, or anything with a battery or power plug.

“From our perspective it’s an important change of thought process for manufacturers to think in a more considered way about the recyclability of their products at the start of the design phase,” Karam said.

“By bringing recyclers, like us, into the conversation early we can use our expertise to help design products or parts of products, that don’t end up in landfill, allowing the commodities in these devices to be unlocked and given another life.

“Every year 58 million tonnes of e-waste is generated globally and only 15% of that is recycled into the circular economy. We are strongly urging manufacturing organisations to reconsider product design to ensure the materials they use to construct these products can be recycled – and that they help educate consumers to ensure it happens once products reach their end-of-life.”

Pictured: Sircel CEO, Anthony Karam.

Sircel is urging manufacturers to utilise plastics that can be recycled and stop using those that can’t. 

“On average, 40% of e-waste is made up hard plastics many of which are difficult to recycle. If this knowledge and consideration is part of the design phase, we could ensure that the plastics being used could be recycled with technology available to us today.”

Australia’s e-waste output is growing three times faster than general waste. Every year, 88% of the four million computers and three million televisions purchased in Australia end up in landfill, contributing to more than 140,000 tonnes of electronic waste.

“The sooner the conversation starts, the sooner we will get to a point where those answers are debated and settled on. Once design changes have been tested by manufacturers easier-to-recycle products could be implemented within a matter of months, if not within a year, and you will start to see results and the tangible difference when those products come to end of life,” Karam said.

Sircel’s world leading technology can process up to 60 tonnes of e-waste a day, diverting up to 100% of all e-waste received from landfill and diverting commodities back into the circular economy.