Recycling smart watches is taking its first steps in the recycling market. Currently the global smart watch market is estimated to be worth EUR 39.6 million.
In 2016 Fitbit achieved global sales of 22.2 million units. By 2018 this figure had fallen to 14 million. Whilst the market has matured since its 2010 launch, a total of over 90 million units have been sold globally. Certainly many of the older Fitbit devices are now reaching the end of their useful life. The question becomes what do we now do with them?
What to do with aging devices?
The challenge is how to collect them and to choose the best recycling method available. One of the major challenges facing the industry is customer concerns about data protection. Fitbit are keen to have approved licensed operators refurbish or recycle discarded devices. One possible solution to overcome data protection concerns is the introduction of a guarantee policy that addresses the deletion of personal details. Similarly, the company is investigating in-store take-back collection schemes. With the success experienced already with other electronic products the sentiment is that ‘convenience’ boosts engagement.
Local recycling centres are currently the key collection point for old Fitbits. US retailers such as Best Buy have started a program of their own to collect a wide array of unwanted consumer electronics, including pedometers, smart speakers, smartphones and smart watches.
Fitbit are looking at strong growth with health apps, but realize that increased sales brings more waste. Certainly a sustainable solution is a commercial imperative for 2020.
The issue of E-waste in Australia is a hot topic. Recycal are investing heavily in new technology because of the growth of that market and the need for innovation. A new e-waste operation is being built by the Recycal group of companies and will be operational in the second half of 2020.