International E-waste day was held on October 14th throughout Europe. As a result it is increasing the awareness of the need for electronic scrap recycling. This was the second E-Waste Day and was supported by the WEEE forum. The WEEE Forum is concerned with the management of waste electrical and electronic equipment (or ‘WEEE’, for short). It’s a not-for-profit association of 36 WEEE producer responsibility organisations, predominantly in Europe. The WEE forum is hoping that the day also gains more global significance in the next few years. This year 112 organisations registered to take part (more than double last year’s number) from 48 countries across 6 continents.
The Forum estimated that the world generated 50 million tonnes of electronic scrap in 2018. Around half of this e-waste consisted of personal devices; including laptops, smartphones, tablets, computers and televisions. Large household appliances and cooling equipment make up the balance.
Too much e-waste going to landfill
In contrast, only 10 million tonnes of the electronic scrap finds its way into recycling. Currently E-waste legislation is in place in countries covering 65% of the world’s population. This results in a huge loss of valuable and critical raw materials from the supply chain. As a result it also causes potentially serious health, environmental and societal issues through illegal shipments of waste to developing countries. Land fill is taking up most of the 40 million tonnes not recycled. Other options in disposing of electronic scrap include ‘burning’ or trading illegally.
Like the Forum, the European Electronics Recyclers Association (EERA) would like to see a boost in e-scrap collection performance.
Above all the key focus amongst all the participants in the World E-waste day was to increase consumers’ knowledge about e-waste and how to dispose of it correctly. These initiatives include conferences, school and city collections, promotions in stores and recycling centres, videos and animations, and an online guide for proper e-waste disposal.
Recycal are keen that more Australian companies finally pick up on the e-waste Day theme. Furthermore let’s hope that it becomes an important day, as we look to reduce the amount of e-waste going to landfill.