The amount of global waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) which has been discarded worldwide reached an all time record of 41.8 million tonnes in 2014, according to a new UN report.
WEEE Disposal Rates Continue To Rise
It was found that around 60% of all the WEEE waste created comes from discarded kitchen, laundry and bathroom equipment, as we look to modernise our ageing microwaves and washing machines.
It is a common perception that WEEE disposal mainly contains the electronic waste which we see the most of, such as mobile phones, computers and printers; however these only accounted for a total of 7% of the waste.
The report has also highlighted the total value of the material recovered from WEEE waste globally during 2014. This primarily comprised of gold, copper and plastic components, which are estimated to be worth a staggering £34.5bn.
United Nations under-secretary general and United Nations University rector David Malone said: “Worldwide, e-waste constitutes a valuable ‘urban mine’ – a large potential reservoir of recyclable materials. At the same time, the hazardous content of e-waste constitutes a ‘toxic mine’ that must be managed with extreme care.
“The monitor provides a baseline for national policymakers, producers and the recycling industry, to plan take-back systems. It can also facilitate cooperation around controlling illegal trade, supporting necessary technology development and transfer, and assisting international organisations, governments and research institutes in their efforts as they develop appropriate countermeasures. This will eventually lead to improved resource efficiency while reducing the environmental and health impacts of e-waste.”
There have been a variety of factors which are believed to be behind the continued rise of WEEE disposal. Some of the obvious reasons are that new electronics are constantly being released which mean that people feel the urge to have the latest must have products.
But it is also thought that goods are increasing being sold with shorter life-cycles than in the past, which means they will need to be replaced sooner than you might expect. Practices by the world’s major tech brands are under increasing scrutiny, with the likes of Apple being accused of using ‘planned obsolescence’ in their products.
This is where gadgets like phones and mp3 players, but also many other types of technology, are designed to only last for a certain amount of time, usually a few years, before they stop working properly and need to be replaced. This is good for the companies as it makes us buy their latest products, but is not good for the millions of consumers who are unwittingly adding to the WEEE waste problem.
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To find out how Recycling Services can help your company with its WEEE disposal, call us today on 01952 204471 or email email@example.com