new un research says that only 20% of E waste is recycled feature image

New UN Research Says That Only 20% Of E-Waste Is Recycled

12th Jan, 2018

We’ve talked about e-waste before here on the blog here at Skip Hire Network. It’s well known as one of the trickier types of waste to recycle, partially due to its complex makeup, but also because of its rapid growth globally. In the last few months, the United Nations’ International Telecommunication Union has recently released a report with some global statistics on how the recycling effort for e-waste is going. It’s not all good news – but don’t despair! There are still some positive steps, and there are ways that you can help, too.

What Does The Report Say?

stats and reports

There are a fair few slightly scary statistics in the report. 45 million tonnes of electronics were thrown away in 2016, and only about 20% of it was recycled. The other 80% isn’t properly documented – it’s estimated that out of this, 4% is thrown away in household waste. Alarmingly, the other 76% goes unaccounted for entirely, which means it’s likely illegally dumped, traded or recycled under inferior conditions.

Europe and Russia together (so including us in the UK, basically) generate about 28% of the world’s electronic waste, and recycle it at an average rate of 35%. We’re propped up by Switzerland, Sweden and Norway quite a bit in that regard though, as they have recycling rates of around 70%. Around the world, more people than ever are using smartphones, which are generally only used for less than 2 years before they get replaced. As you can imagine, this level of rapid turnover contributes quite a bit towards the growing tide of electronic waste.

Are There Any Positive Sides?

computer parts

Always! In the last few years, six more countries – including those like India – have added rules covering electronic waste management. That means that two-thirds of the globe now have some level of system in place that encourages the safe disposal and recycling of electronic waste. It’s a good starting point!

As for what you can do, you’ll be glad to hear it doesn’t take a lot. For starters, when you replace an electronic gadget you can always sell your old one on sites like Gumtree. If you’re worried about aesthetic damage, well, most people are surprisingly OK about stuff like that as long as you’re upfront about the extent of the damage. They are buying it at a discount, after all, so lots of folks are prepared to make compromises.

If you’re happy to forgo the cash for them (and let’s be honest, sometimes you might not get much), you can always list them on Freecycle instead, or send them to organisations like Computer Aid and Computers for Charities. Meanwhile, many electronics manufacturers (like Samsung and Dell) will take any products you’ve bought from them to recycle them themselves.

Above all, try and avoid simply dumping your old electronics. The report is a little bit gloomy now, but by extending the lifespan of your electronics as much as you can, you’re ultimately helping that 20% figure to grow! Here at Skip Hire Network, we take pride in our environmentally-friendly approach to skip hire, and you can count on us not just for a quality service, but also to responsibly dispose of your waste.

You just need to enter in your postcode and phone number into our homepage, and you’ll find yourself looking at an instant online quote for skip hire. All we need to do after that is finalise a few more details, and that’s all there is to it!

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