Destroyed, recycled, or sold: excess electronic components inventory

Electronic waste

The electronics industry is always working on the next big thing, constantly striving for technological breakthroughs. However, this progress comes with a hidden cost: a staggering 62 million tonnes of electronic waste, or e-waste, was generated globally in 2022.

This is the equivalent of a line of 40-tonne trucks filled with e-waste circling the equator. The sobering fact is that only 22.3% of this waste is properly recycled, sending an estimated $62.5 billion worth of discarded technology components into landfills.

There is a better way. In this article, Waldom Electronics examines the three options of what to do with excess electronic components, and determine which option is not only the best option for our planet but can also lead to greater profits for suppliers and distributors.

The three options for excess electronic component inventory

When dealing with excess electronic component inventory, suppliers and distributors face a critical choice. Can companies arrive at the most responsible way to handle these components? Let’s explore the three primary methods for handling excess inventory and weigh their impacts on our planet.

Destruction: a quick (yet costly) way to free up space

Many companies with excess inventory see destruction as the most convenient solution. When a component becomes seemingly obsolete, it’s easiest to follow the ‘out with the old, in with the new’ mindset. Destruction involves physically dismantling and shredding electronic components to recover at least some raw materials like precious metals. The 62 million tons of e-waste generated in 2022 is forecasted to climb to an annual rate of 82 million tons by 2030.

According to the 42.8% of e-waste is formally recycled across European countries, and that percentage drops to 30% in the US. The lower number in the US. is attributed mostly to a relative lack of government regulations as compared to Europe. These formal policies remain a big hurdle from a more widespread adoption of e-waste recycling. 8.2% of global e-waste is shipped across borders, with most of it (65%) being shipped from high-income to middle- and low-income countries through uncontrolled, undocumented movements. This creates a toxic economy of ‘urban harvesting’, with entire families sifting through piles of e-waste for components they recycle often through crude and dangerous methods.

Destruction takes a massive toll on the environment. The dismantling process often releases harmful substances like lead, mercury and flame retardants into the surrounding air and soil. On top of this, the energy used for shredding contributes to rising greenhouse gas emissions. These toxic substances can have devastating ramifications for human health, not to mention animals. This process is ecologically irresponsible and overlooks the potential of these perfectly usable components. Companies must do better and avoid the destruction method at all costs.

Recycling: a step in the right direction

Recycling is a more responsible method that destruction to deal with excess electronic components. The recycling process involves meticulously breaking down components into smaller parts, separating valuable materials like plastics and metals, and then refining them for use in new products.

While seemingly more environmentally friendly than destruction, recycling has its limitations. Extracting materials is a time and resource-intensive process, and some components contain hazardous substances that require special handling. For instance, recovering precious metals like gold involves energy-intensive, intricate chemical processes. Components with hazardous materials require careful handling and specialised facilities to ensure safe processing and prevent risks of environmental contamination.

Selling: a sustainable choice with economic benefits

It’s common for suppliers and distributors to be faced with excess inventory. While more traditional methods of destruction and recycling can quickly discard stock, selling these components through a master distributor like Waldom is the most environmentally and economically responsible option. Let’s explore why.

Extending lifecycles, minimising waste

When perfectly usable electronic components are scrapped, valuable resources are lost forever. However, selling them through a platform like Waldom’s Green Stock programme gives these products a second life. Waldom has already repurposed approximately 5.7 billion components, preventing them from ending up in landfills and contributing to a more sustainable future. Imagine the impact if all electronics manufacturers embraced similar initiatives! We could potentially save hundreds of billions of components, significantly reducing the environmental footprint of the electronics industry.

This programme reduces the environmental impact of e-waste and helps meet the ever-growing demand for electronic parts. By participating in Waldom’s Green Stock programme, your company becomes a leader in sustainable practices and contributes to a more circular economy within the electronics industry.

Economic advantages

Selling excess components through Waldom isn’t just good for the planet – it makes good business sense. Instead of paying disposal or recycling fees, you recover a portion of your original investment for the parts. This means your company makes money from products that would otherwise be discarded, and Waldom can sell the components through its vast network of distributors. Waldom recovers on average 87% of the excess stock received – the numbers speak for themselves!

Brand protection and transparency

By partnering with Waldom, a master distributor with a neutral position, you can be confident your brand integrity is upheld. Waldom always sells at your book cost or higher, ensuring you receive fair value for your excess inventory. Furthermore, we exclusively sell to other distributors, providing you with point-of-sale (POS) reporting that details the exact selling price and buyer for each component. This complete transparency and traceability protect your brand reputation and prevents unauthorised sales.

By choosing to sell through Waldom’s Green Stock programme, you become an active participant in a circular economy. Functional components stay in use, reducing the need for costly resource extraction and minimising overall environmental impact. This collaborative approach creates a win-win for both the environment and your bottom line.