From making it easier for consumers to repair their own electronics to ongoing supply chain issues to justice reform, there are a number of topics that have our attention right now. Whether they relate directly to electronics recycling or affect our employees and the wider community around us, these topics are at the forefront of our minds here at Tech Dump as we begin another year.
Here’s what we’re keeping an eye on in 2022.
1.) Right-To-Repair Legislation
Right-to-repair legislation is a crucial part of allowing consumers (and companies like Tech Dump) to repair their own electronics and other consumer goods without violating copyright laws, EULAs (End-User License Agreements), or other rules. This legislation would require manufacturers to make their parts, tools, and information available to individual consumers and repair shops, allowing people to more easily repair their devices. And ease of repair results in longer-lasting devices and less waste.
You may have seen the news this fall that Apple will begin releasing replacement parts and service manuals for their iPhones to consumers or third-party repair companies. This is a great step that will allow consumers to more easily have their iPhones repaired. While this is a significant move in the right direction, we have a long way to go toward ensuring that consumers can repair their own devices without hassle.
Right-to-repair legislation, when passed, is adopted at the state level. In recent years, state legislators on both sides of the aisle have introduced this crucial legislation in more than 25 states. Interest in and support for such legislation is growing, and we are eagerly watching to see how it progresses in 2022.
For history and progress updates on this subject, check out repair.org.
Batteries are another topic we’re paying attention to this year. More specifically, the lithium-ion batteries used for electric cars and e-bikes. These batteries have the potential to decrease our reliance on fossil fuels and protect the environment…as long as battery end-of-life is handled appropriately.
- Electric vehicles
As the first electric vehicle (EV) models age and start to come off the road, handling their batteries becomes the next challenge. Like other electronics, the lithium-ion batteries that fuel electric cars are toxic and have the potential to cause destructive fires. They also contain valuable minerals like cobalt, lithium, and nickel. Safe, effective recycling and reuse of these materials will be a crucial part of any end-of-life plan.
In contrast to traditional lead-acid car batteries, lithium-ion battery packs are big, heavy, and complex, with designs that can vary significantly from one manufacturer to another. All of these factors make recycling EV batteries more difficult (and more expensive) than traditional car batteries. In an ideal scenario, the materials in an EV battery would be extracted and reused. In practice, however, that process is so labor- and resource-intensive that it often exceeds the cost of obtaining new materials.
As electric vehicles become more popular, the need for effective battery recycling options only increases. EV battery recycling is an area we’re keeping a close eye on in the hopes of seeing continued advancement in the coming years.
The use of e-bikes is becoming more widespread as a way to reduce emissions from short car trips. But as with electric cars, their lithium-ion batteries will eventually need to be recycled and replaced. On average, e-bike batteries last about 3-7 years, and, as hazardous materials, they are difficult to dispose of.
Up until now, the U.S. hasn’t had the infrastructure needed to handle the recycling of e-bike batteries. But in 2022, an industry-wide e-bike battery recycling program is being rolled out in an effort to make battery recycling easier and more effective. Part of this program includes looking at the lifecycle of e-bikes and their batteries and determining how to improve recycling efforts with the goal of creating a circular economy. We look forward to seeing how this exciting program will improve e-bike battery recycling.
Want to learn more about developing an effective, secure and profitable IT asset disposition (ITAD) program for your business? Download our free guide here!
3.) Justice Reform
Did you know that the U.S. incarcerates a higher percentage of its citizens than any other country? It’s true. We spend billions of dollars on jails and prisons each year. And contrary to popular belief, higher rates of incarceration don’t actually reduce violent crime. What’s more, mass incarceration disproportionately affects poor people and people of color. Our criminal justice system is in dire need of reform.
From eliminating money bail and reducing long prison sentences to allowing people with prior convictions to serve on juries, there are a number of issues within the criminal justice system that have the potential for change this year.
The Prison Policy Initiative, a nonprofit research and advocacy organization, recently released their annual report highlighting state legislative reforms that are gaining momentum. View their report, “Winnable criminal justice reforms in 2022,” here to learn more.
4.) Mental Health
The past couple of years have been rough on everyone’s mental health. Because of this, one of the areas we focused on in 2021 was supporting the mental health of our employees. Many of our employees took part in therapy through Creative Kuponya, our therapy provider, and we plan to continue offering support in 2022.
In addition to therapy, there are many other ways to improve your mental health, including meditation, journaling, taking time to rest, and volunteering. If you find that you or those around you are in need of mental health support, try incorporating some of these things into your life and consider connecting with a therapist.
5.) Supply Chain Issues
Widespread supply chain issues are a topic we are unfortunately still discussing in 2022. It’s expected that product and component availability will continue to be an issue throughout the year, especially for items that require semiconductors. Prices of raw materials, components, and finished products are expected to remain high, with the potential for additional increases. When you add in labor shortages and issues related to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, it’s clear that supply chain issues are here to stay for a while.
The difficulty in obtaining semiconductors and other components has meant long wait times for consumers buying new electronics. Luckily, there is an alternative: buying refurbished products and repairing older equipment can help you avoid those long waits while keeping your electronics in top condition.
Shop with our partner, Tech Discounts, for affordable refurbished computers, parts and other equipment for your home or office.