Small electrical appliances have generated the most of the electrical and electronic waste (WEEE) in 2019

Toasters, kettles, flat irons, hair dryers, scales, clocks, etc. – all are small electrical equipment that produced in 2019 most of the waste within the global quantity of electrical and electronic waste (WEEE), reaching the figure of 17.4 million tons, according to the Global E-waste Monitor 2020 study.

Along with the evolution of technology, people began to buy more and more small electrical appliances that make it easier for them to work in the household. Hygiene and beauty appliances have also become of high demand. All this equipment has, generally, short life cycles, but also few repair options.

For these reasons, most of them end up in landfills, where they become a real danger to the environment and to our health. The causes are simple, electrical appliances contain plastic, which is so harmful to the environment, but also other dangerous substances such as mercury. Moreover, if you dispose of equipment with built-in battery in the same place with the household waste, there is a high risk that it will cause a fire when it comes in contact with water.

Map with WEEE collection points – here on the RESPO WEEE Association website

In 2019, a record number of electrical and electronic waste (WEEE) was generated worldwide, namely 53.6 million tons, up 21% in just five years. Therefore, in the global quantity, the largest share belongs to small equipment, with 17.4 million tons, followed by the large ones, with 13.1 million tons and then, heat exchange equipment, with 10.8 million tons.

“The RESPO box is the solution we propose so that small electrical equipment does not reach the landfill. It is made of cardboard and I think we should all have it in our houses, to collect the waste. Once it is filled, we can take the box to the partner stores that collects them, we can take it out when the garbage truck comes or we can call the green line to find out which is the nearest collection point. We would also like to announce that we plan to launch a new map on the association’s website, where you can see exactly where the collection points of our partners are”, said Cristian Pocol, president of the Respo DEEE Association.

Moreover, the Global E-waste Monitor 2020 report estimates that electrical and electronic waste (WEEE) will reach 74 million metric tons by 2030, which shows that this type of waste has the fastest growth flow.

Only 17.4% of the electrical and electronic waste (WEEE) in 2019 was collected and recycled

An important aspect to highlight in the study is that only 17.4% of the electrical and electronic waste (WEEE) in 2019 was collected and recycled. Which means that the gold, silver, copper, platinum and other high-value recoverable materials (assessed at USD 57 billion – an amount larger than the Gross Domestic Product of many countries), were largely thrown away or burned, and not collected for treatment and reuse

Hence, Asia is the continent that produced the largest volume of waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) in 2019, about 24.9 million tons, followed by America, with 13.1 million tons, Europe, with 12 million, Africa, with 2.9 million tons and Oceania, with 0.7 million tons.

It is also worth remembering one positive thing in the report, namely that the number of countries that have adopted a national policy, legislation or regulation on the management of waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) has increased from 61 to 78 in the period between 2014 and 2019

Author: Daniela Cristescu

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