Electronic waste is a global problem. Despite the immense value of the gold and other critical minerals they contain, 80% of computers, mobile phones, tablets, laptops, and other electronics end up in landfills. But we can do better. Meet Aaron Kamenash, the founder and chief innovation officer at Camston Wrather, a Carlsbad, California, e-waste recycler that launched its first “green smelter” facility last year. All the metals, circuit boards, plastics, and other materials in the electronics it receives are recycled. The facility claims its recycling processes are 90% less carbon intensive than legacy waste techniques and reduces water usage by 92% compared to traditional methods. For example, it converts the plastics recovered from electronics into park and campus equipment the City of San Diego uses.
Camston Wrather is developing a carbon credits program that will provide companies that recycle waste to track and report the end-of-life and reuse-related emissions, water, and environmental impacts of avoiding sending electronics to a landfill. The revenue generated by carbon credits could also unlock new revenue that can help to finance a robust reverse-logistics infrastructure for electronics. You can learn more about Camston Wrather at camstonwrather.com.