E-WASTE: THE NEW THREAT TO THE ENVIRONMENT

Published: 7 November 2022

We’ve all heard of ‘fast fashion’ and its harm to the environment but there’s now a new concern – ‘e-waste’ caused by the vast amount of mobile phones and electrical items that are not being recycled.

According to the International Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) forum, 5.3 billion phones will be thrown away globally this year, rather than recycled. This highlights the growing environmental problem of e-waste as people keep their old phones rather than recycle them.

Lifeline IT’s own research confirms that people are concerned about this – 80% of people whom we questioned for our 20th anniversary said technology such as mobile phones are now too disposable compared to two decades ago. Yet whilst people know this is a problem, it’s often all to easy to ‘upgrade’ to the latest model and leave your old phone in a draw.

We take a look at the issue of e-waste and what you can do to mitigate against it.

  • There are an estimated 16 billion phones worldwide and in Europe almost a third are no longer in use. Furthermore, WEEE predicts that the amount of electrical and electronic waste – ranging from phones, tablets and computers, through to white goods such as washing machines – will reach 74 million tonnes a year by 2030.
  • This causes a problem as these tech and electrical items contain precious metals, for example copper in wire or cobalt in rechargeable batteries. These metals have to be mined if items are not recycled, which is hugely detrimental to the environment.
  • Current global conflicts, including the war in Ukraine, is disrupting the precious metal supply chain, so it is more important than ever that we make a concerted effort to recycle tech.
  • Once recycled, old devices provide key materials that can be used to produce new electronic devices or equipment, such as wind turbines, electric car batteries and solar panels.
  • It’s estimated that the average UK household could make £200 by selling and recycling its unwanted tech.
  • Learn more about e-waste at the Royal Society of Chemistry’s recycling campaign https://tinyurl.com/4p83cyrp and to find out where you can recycle old tech and electrical items, go to https://tinyurl.com/yphn64up
  • Lifeline IT offers clients secure disposal of tech items that is carried out to WEEE standards and covers everything from old laptops, desktops and computers, through to mobile devices, printers and servers.

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