How to Properly Dispose of Used Inflight Cabin Entertainment Hardware

Nearly every private and commercial airline offers some sort of inflight entertainment for their passengers. These technologies, like seatback screens or displays, don’t last forever. They are eventually replaced due to breakdowns or because it’s time for an IFE upgrade.

Fleet-wide upgrade projects are usually performed in waves since every plane can’t be grounded for overhauling and upgrades at the same time.

The major U.S and international commercial carriers have nearly 1,000 operating aircraft in their fleets. United Airlines has a fleet of more than 800 single and twin-aisle aircraft; American Airlines more than 900.

Each airliner has, on average, 130 seats (layout and size can vary). If each of those positions are equipped with a seatback screen, AOG (Aircraft on Ground) projects to replace display hardware or software for an entire fleet might generate over a hundred thousand seatback-screens worth of waste.

Screens and other electronics produce a plethora of electronics waste, also known as e-waste. How can air carriers properly dispose of these inflight entertainment materials without causing harm to people and the environment? Luckily, there are a variety of sustainable, eco-friendly e-waste disposal solutions.

Sell IFE

As of 2022, there are over 5,000 international airlines operating from different continents. This gives air carriers ample opportunity to resell IFE and cabin electronics to carriers that may consider them to be an upgrade.

As long as the displays and screens work or require only minor repairs, there may be plenty of buyers interested in purchasing used inflight entertainment devices. Seatback displays aren’t just used by airlines. Many train and coach carriers may also be interested in installing used seatback screens to increase passenger loyalty and satisfaction.

Recycle IFE

Another environmentally friendly way to dispose of used IFE electronics is to recycle them. Since many electronics contain toxic materials like chromium and recyclables like plastic and glass, these materials must be kept out of regular landfills. There are plenty of ways to recycle retired electronics. If the devices cannot be resold or reused, they should be taken to a dedicated e-waste recycling facility where they can be recycled properly without polluting the environment.

Before recycling, it’s necessary to wipe any sensitive data from each device and remove any batteries, as these need to be disposed of separately.

Donate IFE

While donating used items may not be as profitable as selling them, there are several nonprofit organizations that can benefit greatly from a donation of used electronics. Donating used electronics also offers potential tax breaks.

Reusing IFE Resources

There’s a finite amount of resources on Earth, especially rare-earth elements used to manufacture modern electronics like the displays used in aircraft cabins. Indium is one example of a rare-earth element that is vital for manufacturing many different types of electronics. The United States controls no indium production, while China controls roughly 43 to 66 percent of the world’s Indium mining.

Although electronics manufacturers haven’t exactly reached panic-levels of scarcity for rare-earth elements, finding ways to repurpose existing materials through recycling is increasingly important.

Why Proper Disposal of E-Waste Matters

Proper disposal of electronics prevents hazardous waste from causing harm to people, animals and the environment. Many electronic devices, including personal televisions, cabin screens and remote controls, contain toxic chemicals which can contaminate the soil and pollute the air. Additionally, the plastic from electronics can take hundreds of years to decompose. As the materials in electronics degrade, they leave even more toxic waste in the world’s soil and oceans.

Recycling e-waste, and other sustainability practices minimizes the contribution to landfills and bodies of water, which in turn conserves the world’s natural resources, protects wildlife and reduces carbon emissions. Because e-waste poses a safety hazard to the environment, its proper disposal is usually legally mandated. Failing to follow local e-waste disposal regulations can result in hefty fines, which can damage your business in the long run.

Upgrade Your Cabin with Cutting Edge IFE Features from Rosen Aviation

Are you looking to give your aircraft cabin a facelift? At Rosen Aviation, we’re committed to designing and creating innovative cabin features that allow passengers to travel in world-class comfort and luxury. We are heavily focused on sustainable, eco-friendly practices that ultimately help the environment and community around us.

We encourage you to learn more about our products by calling 1-888-668-4955.