The first-ever International E-waste Day, taking place on October 13, aims to promote the proper disposal of waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) throughout the world, ultimately leading to an increase in reuse and recycling rates.
International E-waste Day has been developed by the WEEE Forum, an international association of e-waste collection schemes, and 26 of its members. It involves around 40 different organizations in 20 countries worldwide to raise public awareness of e-waste.
“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,” said Pascal Leroy, secretary general of the WEEE Forum, in a statement. “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 reuse and recycling plants a critical part of the challenge.”
It is estimated that 50 million tonnes of e-waste will be generated globally in 2018; half of which is personal devices such as computers, screens, smartphones, tablets and TVs, and the remainder is larger household appliances and heating and cooling equipment.
Currently, only 20 percent of global e-waste is recycled each year, meaning that, despite 66 percent of the world’s population being covered by e-waste legislation, 40 million tonnes of e-waste per year is either placed in landfill, burned or illegally traded and treated in a sub-standard way. This improper handling of e-waste is resulting in a huge loss of valuable and critical raw materials from the supply chain and causing serious health, environmental and societal issues through illegal shipments of waste to developing countries.
“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,” said Karmenu Vella, EU commissioner for environment, maritime affairs and fisheries, in a statement. “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. 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.”
In celebration of International E-waste Day, communities around the globe are participating in initiatives in an effort to increase consumers’ knowledge about e-waste and how to dispose of it correctly. In this gallery, we highlight 10 of the events and initiatives taking place in coming days. You can view more initiatives and events here.
Interested in sharing your initiative? Head on over to Twitter and mention @Waste360 with the hashtag #InternationalEwasteDay!