Electronics are sophisticated products with an equally complicated supply chain. Within the consumer electronics industry, revenue is forecast at 1.82% annual growth, with user penetration climbing from an estimated 29.7% in 2022 to 36.8% by 2025. Because electronics are so popular (and potentially expensive), there is also a growing market for used electronics and their recycled parts. The growth of this sector is critical for sustained development, as the raw materials necessary for future production are in short supply and electronic waste (e-waste) has a major impact on the environment. In 2019, the world generated a striking 53.6 metric tons of e-waste, and this figure is projected to grow to 74.7 metric tons by 2030.
This technical note explores the electronics value chain, forward supply chain, the final assembly stage, reverse supply chain, and the financial benefits of e-waste parts reuse and recycling. It is recommended for use with a companion technical note, "Regulations and Standards: Electronics Supply Chain" (UVA-OM-1714); as well as with the following cases: "Fairphone (A): Can a Start-Up Change an Industry?" (UVA-OM-1712); "Fairphone (B): Is It Really Worth It?" (UVA-OM-1713); and "iFixit: If You Bought It, You Don’t Really Own It" (UVA-OM-1772).