E-Scrap 2017 will bring together a wide range of leaders in the industry to explore the critical opportunities and challenges facing businesses today. In addition to the trade show, an extensive conference agenda will provide e-scrap professionals with the tools they need to take their operations to the next level. 

Below is a synopsis of the topics to be covered at E-Scrap 2017, along with confirmed speakers. Check back soon for the full agenda schedule.

ITAD: The Industry evolves.  The conference’s opening session will involve a detailed and informative question-and-answer discussion among key corporate executives regarding the continuing expansion of services by e-scrap processors to include more of a focus on reuse, repair and resale.  How has this move into to other aspects of asset disposition affected traditional e-scrap firms?  Do large players see ITAD services differently than mid- and small-size companies?  What new skill sets need to be developed to be successful in the ITAD field?  These and other critical issues will be addressed by our expert panel.  
– Chris Ko, Managing Partner, ER2
– Miles Harter, CEO, Dynamic Recycling
– Sean Magann, vice-president, Sims Recycling Solutions

Big-picture trends affecting electronics recycling.  The private firms, organizations and public agencies involved in electronics recovery are being pushed and pulled by many new trends and issues.  For example, data security concerns continue to rise at the same time the stream of obsolete electronics is changing in terms of its composition and materials.  Four experts offer insights into what can we expect in the coming years and what government initiatives are on the horizon.
– Sarah Downes, executive director, ProSUM
– Bob Johnson, CEO, National Association for Information Destruction
– David Daoud, Analyst, Compliance Standards
– Jason Linnell, Executive Director, National Center for Electronics Recycling

Circuit-board reclamation trends.  The metallic composition of recovered materials is different today than in the past, the volume of material has grown quickly and the relationship between the supplier and the consumer is being altered. For example, Mitsubishi Materials has seen the volume of e-scrap processed at its Japanese copper smelter grow by 400 percent this decade. At the same time, new assay techniques have been developed to address changes in material types and flows. For a better understanding of these factors, we’ve asked several experts to give a lay of the land.
– Joe Bernhardt, Aurubis
– Shigeaki Shiraishi, Mitsubishi 

All recycling is global.  This year’s E-Scrap Conference will feature compelling and comprehensive assessments of electronics recycling issues elsewhere. Here’s a sample:

The true China picture.  For North American electronics sustainability and recycling executives to be successful, they need to look beyond the domestic market to ascertain key factors. Many watch Chinese developments with a keen eye. So, what’s the real story in the world’s second-largest economy? Elwin Meng with UMICOR Greater China has intimate knowledge of the major developments in that country and in the Asia-Pacific region overall, and he’ll lay out the important changes that need to be monitored.  

E-scrap recycling in a political hot zone. A fascinating project is underway in Israel and Palestine with a goal of improving electronics recycling. A key participant in Sustainable Israeli-Palestinian Projects – Anne Peters – will describe how the inaugural effort of the program (to reduce the open burning of e-scrap in the West Bank) has moved into work aimed at improving the e-scrap infrastructure and underlying policies in the region, especially with an eye to environmental health and safety concerns.

Local cultures determine local e-scrap practices.  Photojournalist Verena Radulovic has completed extensive research into both the formal and informal e-scrap handling sectors in major urban areas in India and Peru. From this work, she has developed recommendations for stakeholders aiming to move electronics recovery forward in developing economies. Her research shows that new programs in these regions will need to be customized to local cultures and the existing informal sector.   

Using data to set prices for reused electronics. Large amounts of data have been gathered and analyzed regarding the resale value of working electronics. Bob Houghton of SageBook will discuss how a data pool of over 40 million value records is used to improve value, profitability and sustainability for both e-scrap processors and their customers. He will also provide examples of using data to direct dynamic work flows that improve overall yield. 

The right to repair. As the e-scrap industry focuses more and more on refurbishing, processors have encountered technical and policy barriers to running successful repair operations. Kyle Wiens, the head of iFixit, is an engaging expert in this field. He will summarize efforts to get legislation adopted that assures firms can repair obsolete products, including electronics. He will also display examples of products that are designed for repair, and those that are not.

The Basel Action Network is already widely recognized for its involvement in critical issues regarding the export of scrap electronics, as well as its establishment and management of the eStewards environmental health certification platform for e-scrap processors.  Now BAN plans to announce at the conference an important new program.  Jim Puckett, BAN’s founder and executive director, will describe to the audience why the organization has expanded to add a new project, and what the group will be doing in this new area of focus.

Optimizing plant operations. The industry’s largest e-scrap firm, Sims Recycling Solutions, has moved its engineering and technical director over to a new subsidiary – Converge Engineering – with 23 employees involved in improving electronics processing systems. We again have asked Rafael Reveles, the leader of Converge, to discuss important new processing trends and systems that will help boost throughput and handle ever-more complex e-scrap streams.

A roadmap to sustainable electronics. The International Electronics Manufacturing Initiative is a research-and-development consortium of leading electronics manufacturers, suppliers, associations and government agencies. The organization has a number of critical projects underway, including the development of a sustainable electronics roadmap. Mark Schaffer from the organization will describe this effort and to also discuss other iNEMI projects focusing on value recovery, end-of-life management and the eco-design of electronics.

We need better data on materials flow. For the electronics collection, processing and end-use industries to thrive and grow, better data needs to be compiled on the amounts, flows and treatment of materials from e-scrap. The European Union recognized this need by its funding of the three-year ProSUM project (Prospecting Secondary Materials in the Urban Mine). The 17 members of the consortium are developing a centralized database on raw materials from e-scrap systems, with a specific focus on critical raw materials. Sarah Downes, ProSUM’s project leader, will lay out the importance of such data-collection initiatives in aiding the growth of electronics recycling.

The circular economy and electronics recycling. The European Commission issued a circular economy package in late 2015, and this has driven considerable efforts in the public and private sectors. This includes actions toward changes in electronics remanufacturing, leasing and reuse. Where do we stand in the move toward a circular economy for electronics? Mark Burrows-Smith from REPIC in the U.K. will aim to answer this question, given that REPIC is the largest producer compliance operation under the U.K.’s electronics producer responsibility system.
– Jim Levine, president, Regency Technologies
– Neil Peters-Michaud, president, Cascade Asset Management
– Kevin Dillon, chief marketing officer, Electronics Recycling International

CRT recycling: Where are we headed?  Clunky, heavy CRTs continue to need to be recycled, as they are recovered in numerous state recycling systems.  At the same time, the lead glass recycling market is extremely volatile.  So where are we headed?  We’ve asked a panel of experts to provide needed insight, including a state e-scrap program manager, an expert from a prominent electronics recycling firm and an executive from a widely recognized trade association. 
– Sarah Murray, State of Wisconsin
– Billy Johnson, Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries

Flat-panel displays: What should we prepared for?  The e-scrap flow is changing rapidly, with flat-panel displays becoming a larger percentage of recovery volumes.  The handling of this stream of obsolete products requires new ways to process e-scrap and new markets for recovered parts and materials.  We have asked a handful of experts to provide an important update, including a leading environmental executive from an electronics producer, two professionals with experience in recovering these displays and a technical manager from a firm which has developed a state-of-the-art processing system.

What is the materials footprint of consumer electronics?  We see press reports daily about the “surge in consumer technology that is leading to mountains of waste”?  But is this true?  A collaborative project involving the Rochester Institute of Technology and industry organizations has generated some fascinating findings that help point the way toward sustainable materials management for these products.  Are total volumes rising or declining?  What about the generation of critical materials, such as mercury, in these products?  RIT’s Callie Babbitt will provide a comprehensive review of the research findings with an eye toward what it means for e-scrap processors.