The amount of electronic waste that we produce each year is growing at an ever increasing rate, with the rise of cheap consumer electronics and yearly advances in technology, coupled with our overall desire and demand for the latest and greatest electronic device that is going to make our lives so much better using it, than the previous version. Well, what happens to the old, the broken and thrown out electronics? It becomes electronic waste, normally in the past, this was like most other types of waste and was used as land fill, unknowingly or knowingly many of these devices included materials such as lead, mercury, sulphur or cadmium to name a few, that are considered hazardous, or dangerous, so putting this material into landfills by the thousands of tonne loads was causing un-repairable damage to the earth they were put in.
Human conscience however has changed over the decades, especially when it was seen that there was the possibility of making a dollar or two, so with that came the era of recycling. It was realized that materials used in electronic devices such as gold, silver, copper, tin, aluminum, iron, nickel and plastics just to name a few, could be processed and removed from electronic waste and sold to be used in many different ways, this is the modern day gold miner of sorts. Now there is a drive on throughout the world and the United States to recycle electronic waste, there has been many laws passed throughout the United States that require electronic waste to be processed differently to normal waste to stop it from getting processed into landfills, this in turn boosts the recycling drive.
90% (ninety percent) of electronic waste in the United States is sold and exported to China and Nigeria, which makes these countries look like the modern gold miners and protectors of earth, but is that the truth?
There is currently a silent battle going on in the world and it’s the world of counterfeit electronic components, the battle is raging between the counterfeiters who are successfully able to get their poor quality products into supply chains and the electronic component suppliers who have to keep up to date with who is supplying them their components and having a strict quality control system to find and stop the flow of counterfeited products from getting into the supply market and causing problems when used in manufacturing devices.
One of the biggest counterfeiting production types is harvesting. This is the process of removing components from electronic waste, rebranding or remarking the components and selling them off as new. One of the biggest producers of counterfeited electronic components is China.
Let’s now look at the equation we have The United States whom sells 90% of its electronic waste to one of the biggest producers of counterfeited electronic components who uses one of the largest counterfeiting production types, the harvesting of components from electronic waste.