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International E-Waste Day to Focus on Education

Following its success in 2019, and despite the pandemic, the third International E-Waste Day will be held on October 14, 2020 to promote the correct disposal of e-waste throughout the world. This year a particular focus will be given to educating children and youth about the ways to tackle the growing e-waste problem. The activities will take place online or in accordance with local regulations.

A record 53.6 million metric tonnes (Mt) of electronic waste was generated worldwide in 2019, up 21% in just five years, according to the UN’s Global E-waste Monitor 2020. It is estimated that by 2030 this number will reach 74 Mt! Only 17.4% of global e-waste was collected and properly recycled in 2019, which means that 44.3 million metric tonnes of e-waste, valued at €50.8 billion, were either placed in landfill, burned or illegally traded and treated in a sub-standard way, and this despite 71% of the world’s population being covered by e-waste legislation. This results in a huge loss of valuable and critical raw materials from the supply chain and causes serious health, environmental and societal issues through illegal shipments of waste to developing countries.

International E-Waste Day has been developed by the WEEE Forum, an international association of electronic waste collection schemes. It is used to highlight to consumers the importance of repairing or correctly disposing of used appliances with the aim to increase re-use, repair, recovery and recycling. Last year more than 100 organisations from nearly fifty countries worldwide were involved and organised many different promotional activities, ranging from conferences and workshops, school and street collections to social media competitions and campaigns as well as online guides and games.

Pascal Leroy, Director General of the WEEE Forum says, “E-waste is an incredibly challenging waste stream: with the number of electrical and electronic devices increasing all the time, the number of materials in products going up and products becoming smaller, yet people holding on to their gadgets for a very long time, the challenge is only getting bigger and bigger. By dedicating a day of the year to raising awareness across the world we hope that more people will understand that it is important to dispose of their used products responsibly.”

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