From the perspective of resources usage and waste, small, end-of-life electrical and electronic appliances are a significant challenge. The UN estimated that in 2019, over 22 million tonnes of small e-waste were produced worldwide. That is 40% of the 57 million tonnes of total global e-waste. If the quantity of these small items keeps on increasing at the same rate as total e-waste (around 3% per year), those 22 million will have become 29 million by 2030.
Due to their small size, items such as mobile phones, electric toothbrushes, toasters and cameras are often discarded incorrectly, and they make up a significant proportion of the 8% of e-waste that is thrown in waste bins, to be landfilled or incinerated. This means the important raw materials they contain cannot be extracted and are lost.
In Europe, up to 1.4 kg of e-waste per inhabitant ends up in the general waste bin every year. On top of this, small appliances are easily stored and forgotten about in drawers, cupboards, garages, basements and attics. In an average European household, up to 5 kg of e-devices per person is currently hoarded. It is crucial that people become more aware of this issue and that the loss of the important resources these items contain is stopped.
This is why International E-Waste Day (#ewasteday) 2022 will be focusing on small items of e-waste, under the slogan Recycle it all, no matter how small!. #ewasteday will take place on 14 October 2022 and all e-waste-related awareness-raising activities are welcome: from social media, TV and radio campaigns to city or school e-waste collections or even artistic performances. Last year, 172 organisations from 78 countries participated in #ewasteday, with many more joining from around the world.
Be part of #ewasteday this year by registering your activities.