With two weeks until the 2018 E-Scrap Conference, we’re featuring another expert who will share insight on-stage in New Orleans.
Callie Babbitt is a researcher at the Rochester Institute of Technology and will be offering a presentation called “Tracking Trends in Consumer Tech Spending.” Her work is part of a partnership between the Rochester Institute of Technology’s Golisano Institute for Sustainability, the Consumer Technology Association (CTA) and the Staples Sustainable Innovation Lab.
Babbitt will speak during “Changing Streams,” a concurrent session that will be held on Oct. 11. To learn more about that session and others, see the full E-Scrap 2018 session schedule.
What will your talk cover?
My presentation will overview key trends in the adoption, storage and disposal of consumer electronics in the United States, and the implication of these trends on volume, composition and management of the e-scrap stream.
This presentation will extend previously reported results by discussing future-oriented trends, including how emerging technology may disrupt the consumer electronics ecosystem or influence state-level targets for e-scrap collection.
Why is it important for the electronics recycling sector to track consumer technology spending?
Public perception around e-scrap issues is often based on intuition, heuristics or past knowledge. For example, we still hear the often-repeated claim that “e-waste is the fastest growing waste stream in the United States,” even though this finding has not been tested using more recent data and trends. Our work underscores the importance of using data to inform these findings. Information, like consumer tech spending, provides a critical insight into real trends happening in this fast-moving sector.
What will you be looking at in the next phase of your project?
In our ongoing research, we are developing sustainable materials management metrics to assess sustainability risks and opportunities surrounding the materials that make up the consumer electronics ecosystem. We aim to first model the social, economic and environmental dimensions of consumer technology materials and then use these findings to create and prioritize sustainable solutions, such as material substitution, targeting key materials for recycling and sourcing materials through alternative supply chains.
What drives you to study the electronics recycling sector?
This field is always evolving, which makes it exciting as a researcher – there are always new opportunities to bring a sustainability perspective to e-scrap and to look for solutions that meet economic and environmental goals.
Babbitt will be joined on-stage by TJ Barelmann of Cascade Asset Management and Lynn Rubinstein of the Northeast Recycling Council during the “Changing Streams” session. Jeff Bednar of the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection will moderate.
E-Scrap 2018 is taking place Oct. 9-11 at the Hyatt Regency New Orleans. Last year’s conference welcomed more than 1,100 attendees from 45 states, seven Canadian provinces and 33 countries, and the trade show featured 135 exhibitors. Head to e-scrapconference.com for all the latest on the 2018 event.