E-scrap on the agenda at ISRI 2013

E-scrap on the agenda at ISRI 2013

By Editorial Staff, Resource Recycling

Electronics recycling and refurbishment were hot topics at this week's annual Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries Convention and Expo, which concludes April 13 in Orlando, Florida.

One processor offered a personal perspective on the value of refurbishment. Paul Baum, head of PlanITROI, noted that his firm re-sells 90 percent of the items it receives (both resale "as-is" and resale as a refurbished item). He says that the value of a refurbished item with a warranty is double or triple the value of merely selling it as-is. For example, an as-is PC might sell for $45, while a refurbished PC with a warranty can sell for $125. Baum notes that Apple products that are five years old or newer can be resold, as can most PCs and laptops. Android tablets need to be two years old or newer and smartphones need to be three years old or newer. The resale life of servers, storage and networking equipment is product-specific.

On the flip side of the coin, George Hinkle of ARCOA described a recycling-dominated operation. The firm only sells 10 percent of its incoming volume as reuse. Even though it has no shredder, the dismantling-oriented company had sales of $8 million last year from four facilities. He says 16 dismantlers can handle 180,000 pounds per week of material.

For a bigger picture, Erica Rannestad, a commodity analyst at CPM Group, assessed precious metals demand. She says CPM predicts prices for gold and silver to remain high beyond 2015 due to record investment interest, strong demand from fabricators and constrained supply. In addition, high end-use demand for palladium, especially from auto makers, should help prices to rise over both the near- and long-term. She sees supply from electronics recycling firms to grow by 5.7 percent, annually, over the next three years.

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