Half a billion products ended up in landfill last year in the UK alone!
Billions of small and affordable electrical and electronic products are purchased worldwide every year. Unfortunately, around 90% of these end up in landfill after having been used, becoming a pollutant to the planet and human health. This process intensifies around Black Friday promotions, when consumers buy new products and massively throw away the old ones.
Representatives of the RESPO WEEE Association explain why this type of electrical and electronic equipment, known as FastTech, is so present in everyone’s homes and why it has become a real wake-up call for the health of the ecosystem.
“The FastTech term refers to a wide range of small, inexpensive electrical items such as headphones, cables, USB sticks, decorative lights, mini-fans and disposable vape machines. These have a short useful life and have become a common presence in everyone’s life. Billions of these products are sold worldwide every year and, unfortunately, 90% of them quickly end up in landfill rather than in collection centres for recycling.
A study by Matrial Focus carried out in this regard on the UK market also showed that half a billion of these products were bought last year, or one every seven seconds. Of these, almost all ended up in landfill quickly: 260 million disposable devices such as vape machines, 26 million cables – enough to circle the Earth five times – , 29 million LEDs, solar and decorative lights, 9.8 million USB sticks, 4.8 million mini fans and so on. All of these contain chemical compounds that become environmental pollutants. That’s why they should be handed in and put into the recycling loop and not end up in household waste or thrown into the environment!” says Cristian Pocol, President of RESPO WEEE Association.
8 out of 9 FastTech products are thrown away in the bin, even though they contain precious materials
Researchers explain that the consumers are tempted to view FastTech items as disposable because of their low cost.
“FastTech products, although relatively cheap, contain valuable raw materials such as gold, aluminium, copper and lithium, which can be reused for the production of other electrical and electronic equipment, without the need to mine for new ones, a very polluting process for the planet.
The UK study shows that each adult buys 9 FastTech products per year and throws away 8, which translates into a 90% disposal rate. The process intensifies around Black Friday promotions, when consumers buy new products and massively discard the old ones. The same goes for small and large electrical and electronic equipment, which consumers replace with new ones during this period.
It is important for people to understand that anything that runs on electricity or battery power needs to be treated separately when it goes out of use. They are not products to be thrown in the bin or on the street corner. They all contain chemicals that can catch fire or contaminate soil and groundwater, eventually entering our bodies through the water or food we eat.
It all comes down to education and understanding how we are harming the environment and ourselves, even without knowing it. Only through recycling can valuable resources from waste become secondary raw materials and be used to produce new devices, without having to mine the planet for new sources of materials. We protect the planet and help the circular economy if we behave responsibly”, adds Cristian Pocol, President of RESPO WEEE Association (www.respo.ro).”
How can we hand in end-of-life electrical and electronic equipment for recycling free of charge in Romania?
The RESPO WEEE Association provides free bins (boxes or containers of various sizes), which can be ordered by calling 0 800 800 21 or online at www.respo.ro/solicitare-cutii-de-colectare/. Once delivered, these bins can be filled with the WEEE we wish to offer for recycling. Once filled, the bins can be taken in person to nearby collection points (map on www.respo.ro), or you can order by phone to be collected by authorised collectors. All these facilities are provided free of charge.
Respo WEEE Association is an RTO (Responsibility Transfer Organization), established in 2019, dedicated to an efficient WEEE collection and recycling process, ensuring quality, reliability and technological progress at high standards.
RESPO WEEE Association takes over the legal responsibility of producers and importers of electrical and electronic equipment in waste management, making the association one of the main players in the area of WEEE management.