International E Waste Day
To raise awareness about this problem, the WEEE Forum has published an alarming stat.
Human beings will dispose of an estimated 57.4million tonnes (approximately 63.3 millions U.S. tons) electronic waste in 2021. This waste will surpass the Great Wall of China, which is the largest human-constructed structure in the world. The WEEE Forum calls for these items to be repaired and recycled rather than being thrown away.
Pascal Leroy, Director General of WEEE Forum, stated that this year’s International E-Waste Day will be centered on the critical role that each of us plays in making circularity a reality in e-products. This is even more crucial than ever, as our governments go into COP26 for global action to reduce CO2 emissions. Each tonne of WEEE that is recycled reduces CO2 emissions by around 2 tonnes. We can all help reduce CO2 emissions if we do our part by recycling our e-waste.
The 2021 mountain of trash didn’t come from nowhere. 2019 saw humans produce 53.6 million tonnes, or approximately 59.1million tons, which is 21 percent more than 2014. This number, if nothing changes, is expected to reach 74 million tonnes (approximately 59.1 million tons) by 2030. This means that e-waste growth is approximately three to four percent each year.
WEEE Forum attributes the growth to the increasing consumption of electronics, shorter periods between product releases, and limited options for fixing broken items.
This cycle includes the marketing and development of cell phones.
Leroy stated that “fast mobile device development has led to a market dependence on rapid replacement of older models,” BBC News.
According to WEEE Forum, approximately 151 million US phones end up in landfills every year. This is 416,000 per day. Only 17.4 percent of electronic garbage is recycled globally.
This is both a financial and environmental disaster.
Dr. Ruediger Kuehr (director of UN’s Sustainable Cycles Programme) stated that a tonne worth of mobile phones discarded is more gold-rich than a tonne ore. For example, 24 kg of gold, 16,000 kilograms of copper, 350kg of silver and 14 kg palladium are all contained in 1,000,000 cell phones. These resources could be recovered and returned back to the production cycle. These materials can be recycled, but it is harmful to the environment if new resources are not found.
These metals could also be recovered from electronic waste, which would produce fewer greenhouse gases than new material mining.
The WEEE Forum invites individuals to take responsibility for disposing of their waste properly in honor of International E-Waste Day
Leroy, from Australia’s ABC News stated that “we hope to raise awareness among residents about the importance of returning electrics that are not longer functioning or are unutilized.” “One out seven electricals in a household in Europe is in drawers, as they aren’t being used or not working.”
Industry and policymakers are important partners in the creation of recycling and repair systems that consumers can use.
Magdalena Charytanowicz, of the WEEE Forum, stated in a statement that consumers want to do the right things but also need to be properly informed so that proper disposal of e-waste becomes a social norm in their communities.