The first International E-Waste Day to promote the correct disposal of electrical and electronic equipment throughout the world is Oct. 13.
Brussels-based WEEE Forum, a European association of electronics recyclers, developed International E-Waste Day with the support of 25 nonprofit e-waste companies in 19 different countries across the world. The association says the day will bring awareness of e-waste recycling and encourage consumers to correctly dispose of their electronics with the resulting increase in reuse and recycling rates on the day itself and into the future.
Conferences, campaigns, school and city end-of-life electronics collections and promotions in stores and recycling centers will be celebrated locally on International E-Waste Day, as well as an online guide for proper e-scrap disposal to increase consumer knowledge about e-scrap. Click here for a list of the activities taking place in different countries.
According to the association, it is estimated that 50 million tons of e-scrap will be generated globally in 2018. Half of this is personal devices such as computers, screens, smartphones, tablets and televisions, with the remainder being larger household appliances and heating and cooling equipment.
About 20 percent of global e-waste is recycled each year, which means 40 million tons of e-scrap per year is either placed in the landfill, burned or illegally traded. The results are a loss of valuable raw materials, as well as health, environmental and societal issues, the association says.
Karmenu Vella, European Union commissioner for environment, maritime affairs and fisheries, says, “This is an important and timely initiative because e-waste continues to increase in volume and the materials it contains are essential for manufacturing new products and satisfying consumer demand for e-products.”
“Even in the EU, which leads the world in e-waste recycling, only 35 percent of e-waste is officially reported as properly collected and recycled,” he adds. “Awareness raising initiatives impacting positively on collection rates will not only help member countries achieving the WEEE directive's targets, but also help Europe in developing the circular economy.”
Pascal Leroy, secretary general of the WEEE Forum, adds, “Consumers are key to better management of e-waste and we have high aspirations that this campaign can have a huge impact on their habits. For example, in each household in Belgium there are an average of 79 electrical items as well as 47 lamps, which makes getting e-waste out of homes and businesses and into re-use and recycling plants a critical part of the challenge.”