Somehow recycling milk-cartons, water bottles and newspapers doesn’t register in our minds the same way when it comes to reusing , recycling and reducing our electronics equipment. According to a recent 337-page study conducted by the United Nations University, when it comes to small household appliances, the European Union’s 27 member nations are recycling very little. UNU study manager, Ruediger Kuehr, said:
“Small appliances, with a few exceptions, are close to zero percent collection. A long-term goal should be to reach targets around 60 percent for small and medium-sized appliances and 75 percent for larger appliances.”
Over the next ten years or so, researchers behind the study predict that electronic waste will grow slowly but surely, rising by 2.5 to 2.7 percent per year. UNU says that about 10.3 million tons of e-waste were generated in 2005, a number that will grow to roughly 12.3 million by 2020. Jaco Huisman, another researcher had this to say:
“There are clear benefits to the environment to collect and treat all forms of e-waste. However, salvaging and recycling different types of e-waste benefits the environment to different degrees in terms of reducing toxic pollution, conserving natural resources, reducing energy consumption and preventing emissions that cause global warming and ozone layer depletion. We therefore recommend differentiated collection targets for different e-waste categories.”
With unwanted and discarded gadgets and hardware representing a growing environmental problem, we all need to step up and address the issue. Will you stand up, be counted and recycle YOUR electronic waste?