14 October: an International E-Waste Day to shed light on "invisible" electronic waste

E-waste appliances
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Anything with a plug, battery or cable can be recycled! An International E-Waste Day to shed light on ‘invisible’ electronic waste

This year International E-Waste Day will operate under the slogan You can recycle anything with a plug, battery or cable!, thus highlighting the issue of invisible e-waste – the electronic items that often fall under the recycling radar of those disposing of them, because they are not seen as e-waste. While often associated with discarded gadgets and devices, a significant amount of electronic waste remains hidden in plain sight.

According to the United Nations, 8 kg of e-waste per person will be produced worldwide in 2023. This means 61.3 million tonnes of electronic waste discarded within a year – more than the weight of the Great Wall of China. Only 17.4 per cent of this waste, containing a mixture of harmful substances and precious materials, will be recorded as being properly collected, treated, and recycled globally. The remaining 50.6 million tonnes will be either placed in landfill, burned, or illegally traded and treated in a sub-standard way or simply hoarded in the households.

Even in Europe, which leads the world in e-waste recycling, only 54% of e-waste is officially reported as collected and recycled and the lack of public awareness is preventing countries from developing circular economies for electronic equipment.

International E-waste Day is an annual awareness raising campaign initiated by the WEEE Forum and its members and takes place every year on 14 October.

It aims to highlight the growing issue of electronic waste and promote responsible e-waste management. Any e-waste related awareness raising activities are welcome to join the campaign: from social media, TV and radio campaigns to city or school e-waste collections, events, conferences, reports or even artistic performances.

Any organisation wishing to address the issue of e-waste and willing to participate is invited to register here.