2018 will be the first year we recognise International E-Waste day on the 13th of October. It aims to raise awareness of how to dispose of electrical items correctly and the consequences to the planet if we don’t. This day was developed by the WEEE Forum, a group of e-waste collection schemes. This is an international effort with the aim of increasing reuse and recycling rates. I have discussed the impacts of smartphones on the environment before. I am thrilled that this day has been taken to raise awareness for the sake of our planet.
10 E-Waste facts:
- 40 millions tonnes of electronic waste is generated annually. That’s the same as throwing away. It is estimated by the end of 2018 this will rise to 50 million.
- 12.5% of e-waste is actually recycled. Some estimate it could be as much as 20% but this is still not good enough.
- The average mobile phone owner… Or cellphone depending where you are in the world, changes their device every 18 months.
- Of all toxic waste, 70% is due to e-waste.
- Annually 300 million computers and 1 billion mobile/cellphones are produced. This is expected to increase by 8% per year.
- E-Waste is toxic due to having mercury, arsenic, lead, chromium and many other substances that are poisonous. Lead can even damage our nervous system, more so in children.
- Improper disposal of e-waste releases toxins into the air.
- E-Waste is the fastest growing source of waste in the US.
- In developing countries like India, e-waste could rise by as much as 500%.
- In the US alone every day 142,000 computers and 416,000 mobile phones are disposed of.
What can we do?
As it is the first ever e-waste day raising awareness is key. In the age of social media you can acknowledge and promote the day. Post a fact or image and use the hashtag, #internationalEwasteday. Days like this are a huge step towards the right direction. We can all make One Change Now to start reversing the damage society has done.