This year’s International E-Waste Day (#ewasteday), taking place on 14 October, will focus on the crucial part each of us, as consumers and as citizens, has in making circularity a reality for e-products. According to the UN, in 2021 each person on the planet will produce on average 7.6 kg of e-waste, meaning that a massive 57.4 million tonnes will be generated worldwide. Only 17.4 per cent of this electronic waste containing a mixture of harmful substances and precious materials will be recorded as being properly collected, treated and recycled. Many initiatives are undertaken to tackle this growing concern, but none of them can be fully effective without the active role and correct education of consumers.
The Coronavirus pandemic has had a perceptible effect on our use of electronics and digital solutions, with people relying on e-products to keep them connected with work colleagues and in their family and social life. This has not only meant a greater use of technology in the home, it has also led to an increase in the consumption of e-products. According to a study commissioned by the European Parliament, within the European Union the demand for personal computers and tablets rose by almost 5% year-on-year until December 2020. In this context it is even more important to make users aware of the options that exist for their end-of-life equipment.
In the past editions of #ewasteday, the activities of the Producer Responsibility Organisations (PROs) in the WEEE Forum and other participants ranged from conferences and events, through school and city collection campaigns to competitions and games. In the 2020 edition lots of creativity was shown to raise awareness in accordance with the Covid restrictions and many great online (and physical where possible) activities took place carried out by more than 120 companies from over 50 countries covering all continents.
“Education and awareness are powerful tools for preventing waste and boosting separate collection and quality treatment. If you need to climb a mountain you need the right tools. International E-Waste Day is the right kind of tool” said Virginijus Sinkevičius, European Commissioner for the Environment in his dedicated message last year. This is one of the reasons why this year too, the WEEE Forum invite all organisations sensitive to the issue of effective and circular e-waste management to plan awareness raising activities for 14 October and join this common effort. Any action promoting sound e-waste collection, repair, reuse or recycling is welcome in the frame of International E-Waste Day. Registered participants will get access to the official promotional materials.