The fifth annual International E-Waste Day, held on 14th October under the slogan ‘Recycle it all, no matter how small’, was the most high profile yet. The event, organised by the WEEE Forum and its members, brought together hundreds of e-waste stakeholders across the world to promote the correct treatment of electrical and electronic equipment to enable reuse, refurbishment and recycling. This year the focus was on those small electrical devices that are no longer used but kept in drawers and cupboards or often tossed in the general waste bin.
194 organisations from 72 countries across 6 different continents registered as participants, with many more entities marking the day with activities, news reports and online campaigns. Collectively, these organisations made the reach of #ewasteday far wider than it was in the previous editions combined and, amidst the growing concern over the e-waste volumes and treatment, raised the profile of the issue even further.
For the occasion, together with its members, the WEEE Forum have conducted surveys among European households to better understand their behaviours and the quantities of e-waste hoarded. The results were consolidated by the UN Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) Sustainable Cycles (SCYCLE) Programme. The surveys show, among others, that, of 8775 European households in six countries representing the diversity of the European Union – Portugal, Netherlands, Italy, Romania and Slovenia, and separate UK survey, the average household contains 74 e-products such as phones, tablets, laptops, electric tools, hair dryers, toasters and other appliances (excluding lamps). Of that 74 average total e-products, 13 are being hoarded (9 of them unused but working, 4 broken). Read more about the results here.
To mark the day, the WEEE Forum was also involved in the production of a report, in partnership with the UN’s International Telecommunications Union and StEP initiative. The thought paper presents complementary solutions and concepts to propel e-waste collection rates in line with EPR-based regulation, whilst also delving into the perceived need for an international regime around EPR to assist with harmonization efforts. Read more about the though paper here and hear more about it from Doreen Bogdan-Martin, Secretary General of ITU, in a dedicated video message.
The WEEE Forum members, who act as leaders of International E-Waste Day activities in the countries they cover, secured large national media coverage by hosting conferences, e-waste collections, as well as TV and radio appearances and high-level promotion on social media. The international press coverage, including articles by TIME magazine, BBC, Bloomberg, CNN, Sky News and many other national news wires and influential media news outlets worldwide resulted in an estimated reach of over 6 billion people.
Pascal Leroy, Director General of the WEEE Forum, expressed his satisfaction with the outcome of the day, “To have such a widespread involvement in e-waste day and to highlight the issue throughout the world was a fantastic result for us. Not only has it shown to us that the e-waste issue is becoming globally more prominent, it has enabled us to open dialogues with many organisations and understand more about the obstacles faced by those tackling the e-waste challenge. The important thing now is for all e-waste stakeholders to take this success forward and maintain the momentum that we have created.”
A short overview of all the activities can be found below:
The infographics, animations, videos and other materials prepared for this edition of the International E-Waste Day can be found here.
The WEEE Forum a.i.s.b.l. is an international association representing fifty producer responsibility organisations across the globe. Together with our members, we are at the forefront of turning the extended producer responsibility principle into an effective electronic waste management policy approach through our combined knowledge of the technical, business and operational aspects of collection, logistics, de-pollution, processing, preparing for reuse and reporting of e-waste. Our mission is to be the world’s foremost e-waste competence centre excelling in the implementation of the circularity principle.
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