electronic waste

UK households revealed to be second worst in Europe for e-waste

Britons produce the second largest amount of e-waste per person in Europe, a study has found.

In 2019 alone, there were 53.6 million tonnes of electronic waste generated globally according to statistics from the United Nations.

With Christmas purchases expected to exacerbate the e-waste problem as consumers throw their old devices out, data from the Global E-Waste Statistics Partnership shows that British households are guilty of generating 55kg of e-waste annually.

Norwegians are the biggest culprits in Europe generating around 57kg per household annually.

Irish households come next with an average of 52.4kg followed by Switzerland with around 51.5kg of e-waste per household.

In a survey of 1,622 Brits conducted by Clearitwaste.co.uk, around 16 per cent of Brits said they did not even know what ‘e-waste’ is.

From the 84 per cent who did know, only 31 per cent truly understands the devastating problems associated with it.

Furthermore, 87 per cent of those surveyed said that the government and environmental bodies need to better educate the public on the issue and how it can adversely impact the environment. Just 36 per cent said they knew how to dispose of their old/unwanted electronic items.

Earlier this year, figures showed that the amount of e-waste generated increased by 21 per cent in the last five years with a poor recycling rate of just 17.4 per cent in 2019.

Clearitwaste recommended that people sell their old electronic items rather than letting them gather dust at the back of a drawer.

They also suggested that old electronic devices such as smartphones could be repurposed as in-car GPS, music players or universal remote controls.

In January, a new recycling process was developed for printed circuit boards which should help to reduce their impact on the environment.

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