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Circular Electronics Day Aims to Combat E-waste

On January 24, more than 12 organizations will help raise awareness of why it’s important to extend the lifespan of electronics.

On Circular Electronics Day (January 24), more than 12 organizations will help raise awareness of why electronic products should be given a longer life through repairs, upgrades and reuse.

Fifty million metric tons of electronic waste is being generated per year worldwide, and e-waste contains valuable metals as well as hazardous substances that are often released into the environment and affect human health. Even more waste is generated when the products are manufactured. For example, to make a notebook computer, 1,200 kilograms of waste is produced from the mining and metals industries. The environmental problems are a result of today’s linear economy, where raw materials are extracted to manufacture products that often have a short lifespan before they are discarded.   

“We need to make the transition to the circular economy where products and materials are handled in a responsible way. The aim is to maximize product lifetime and handle discarded products as valuable resources, used to manufacture new products,” said Andreas Rehn, project manager of criteria development at TCO Development, in a statement.

The organizers of the initiative—Blocket, Chalmers Industriteknik, Closing the Loop, European Environmental Bureau, iFixit, Elgiganten, El-kretsen, Inrego, IVL Svenska Miljöinstitutet, Lenovo, Recipo and TCO Development—encourage both individuals and organizations to contribute to a more sustainable use of electronics by sharing tips and inspiring others to reuse products with the hashtag #CircularElectronicsDay.

To help make a difference this Circular Electronics Day, the organizers have provided five simple steps that you can take to help extend the lifespan of electronics:

  1. Buy secondhand products. By asking for used products or products that are designed for reuse, both individuals and organizations can contribute.
  2. Consider if it is possible to repair or sell your product. By erasing old data, refurbishing and upgrading it, you can give it a longer life.
  3. If you must buy a new product, choose one that is certified according to a sustainability certification compliant with ISO 14024. Criteria must then be comprehensive, relevant and cover the product’s full lifecycle, and compliance with the criteria must be verified by an independent part.
  4. Purchase a high-performance product. It enables you to keep it for a longer period of time.
  5. Electronics contain valuable resources and shouldn’t be treated as waste. If it’s not possible to reuse or sell your old products, hand them in to a recycling facility or another collection point where the materials are taken care of. Many retailers accept that you leave your old products with them for recycling.
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