Lust for Latest Gadgets Clogs Landfill
If speaking truthfully, many of us would admit that we’d be lost without the technology that we’ve come to rely on so heavily in recent times.
With computers, TVs and the like becoming more and more advanced each year, and phone contracts reeling customers in with the promise of regular upgrades, the amount of electronic waste we create around the globe is reaching unprecedented levels. Experts from the Solving the E-Waste Problem (StEP) group are predicting that, in the next 3 years, e-waste figures could be totaling 65.4 million tons annually, based on evidence carried out over 184 countries around the world.nt years. From the smartphones in our pockets to the computers that we explore the world through, our gadgets and electronics control how we go about our daily lives. But few of us give much thought as to how we dispose of our equipment once we’re done with it.
[For those fans of trivial comparative statistics, that’s equal to the weight of 200 Empire State Buildings!]
This represents a massive 33% rise in waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) between 2012 and 2017, with the data from the investigation presented by StEP as a global map that shows the biggest culprits. Unsurprisingly, it’s the powerhouses of the first and second worlds that account for the majority of the waste, with the USA generating 9.4 million tons of the current 49 million ton total, and China clocking up 7.3 million tons.
The UK comes in at 6th on this list – understandably lower due to a smaller population, yet still the highest EU nation – with our government following the trend of simply sending hard-to-dispose-of unwanted electronics to the third world, where it is rarely reused and is often simply scrapped or left in dumps.
Fingers are being pointed in a number of directions as to where to place the blame for this, with some accusing manufacturers and electronics companies of irresponsible design and selling methods, while others are calling for government intervention in order to tighten sanctions on the disposal of WEEE items. In respect to the latter, the 1st of January this year did see the UK government introduce moves to make regulations related to WEEE stricter, with the sanctions rolling out across the EU over the next couple of years. This will require a 45% rate of treating and recycling of all electronic products that come on the market, which is roughly 10% higher than the current UK figures.
The issue could be more systemic than that, however, and may require a change of attitude in the consumer, calling on us to be far more responsible in the way in which we dispose of electrical waste – especially those items that are far from unusable.
Here at Woodford Recycling, we aim to process up to 85% of the waste we collect, and our facilities are equipped to handle a range of hazardous waste materials. We hold current waste carriers and waste management licences, and our team have the expertise to recover recyclable elements from a number of waste products.
For more information, don’t hesitate to get in touch with Woodford Recycling today.