Blog – E-waste is an environmental time bomb.
Plastic in e-waste is an environmental time bomb that is being overlooked, say campaigners.
Plastic accounts for about 20% of the 50 million tonnes of e-waste produced each year, which is expected to more than double by 2050, this is why computer and electronic recycling is so important, what’s also important is that our youth is taught the importance of IT disposal and school e-waste recycling, to help ensure these figures don’t continue to rise at an alarming rate.
Drowning in plastic
“The amount of e-waste increasing annually is tremendous,” warned Ruediger Kuehr, director of the Sustainable Cycles Programme at the United Nations University.
A UN-supported campaign is calling on consumers to favour electronic devices that use recovered plastic. The PolyCE campaign, funded by the European Commission, also calls on manufacturers to use less plastic.
“At the moment, we are generating roughly 50 million tonnes per year globally, and it is expected that it will reach 110 million tonnes in 2050 if we do not change our existing business and consumption practices.” Added Kuehr.
Dr Kuehr explained that, currently, most of the plastic in electronic devices were not designed for recovery or recycling. As a result, it ended up untreated in landfill sites, but when recycling with Recycle Your Tec, they ensure that none of your redundant items is ever sent to landfill sites.
“We always look to reuse, refurbished or recycle any redundant IT that comes to us from Schools, Business and Charities,” said Recycle Your Tec Manager Gary Ward.
One driver for the unprecedented growth in e-waste includes the notion of “leap-frog” technology, the need for the latest item(s). Technology companies have the habit of having a “new” or “upgraded” piece of kit ready as their newest line is released, this is massively increasing our e-waste as items are made redundant quicker than ever before.
More than half of the world’s population now have access to the internet or mobile phone, This means that there has been an explosion in the volume of demand for electronic devices, such as laptops, tablets and mobile phones.
All of this is driving up the annual volume of e-waste.
While there is a growing awareness of the threats posed by plastic waste in general, little or no attention is placed on the impact of the waste plastic from the millions of disposing of electronic devices around the world.
“Firstly, and foremost, we want to raise awareness among consumers on the benefits of recycled plastics in electronics,” explained Violeta Nikolova from PolyCE (Post-Consumer High-tech Recycled Polymers for a Circular Economy).
“We would also like consumers to start thinking more about the components of products, in the same way, they’re looking into appearance or design quality,” she told BBC News.
The project’s campaign is scheduled to run for two years until 2021.
While plastics are essential for making many different components of electronic and electrical products, industry experts in the PolyCE consortium’s network said products can be designed in ways that make the material recovery of plastic components easier.
Ms Nikolova added: “It is the beginning of this conversation. We are aware that it’s not going to have immediate results, but it would perhaps be the beginning of something that that will create momentum.”
It’s good to know that this is the start of a plan to reduce plastics being used in electronic items, but we also need to act right now and be sensible with our actions. While most of us want the latest and greatest gadgets, those already in your possession might still be top of the line to some people and by recycling with Recycle Your Tec, they will ensure that those items are ever sent to landfills and are 100% either reused, refurbished or recycled.
Find out more about there FREE recycling service at www.recycleyourtec.com