The Global E-waste Monitor 2017

The Global E-waste Monitor 2017

27 December 2017

Sky covered the release of The Global E-waste Monitor 2017 from SWEEEP Kuusakoski recycling site on Sunday 24th Dec.
Video here for all those who missed it while wrapping
Christmas presents:
By Ian Woods, Senior Sky News Correspondent
A staggering amount of electrical equipment and gadgets is being thrown away, prompting a warning of huge environmental consequences.
A United Nations report reveals that the global electronic waste mountain has grown by 8% in the past two years, with only a fifth of all the rubbish being recycled.
A total of 44.7 million tons of old computers, domestic appliances and gadgets were thrown away in 2016.
To try to visualise those figures, researchers calculated that it's equivalent to the weight of 4,500 Eiffel Towers, and if it was loaded into trucks it would need 1.23 million of them stretching from New York to Bangkok and back again.
In Britain, everyone throws away an average of 25kg of equipment every year. The current recycling rate is around 45%, but the Government has increased that target to 65% by 2019. To be properly recycled, it needs to be taken to a council waste site, which then sends it to authorised WEEE (Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment) centres.
Sweeep Kuusakoski in Sittingbourne in Kent is one of Britain's biggest WEEE centres, handling 36,000 tons every year, mostly smaller electrical items, rather than large white goods such as washing machines and fridges. The items are smashed to pieces and spun to separate and recover parts which can be reused.
Commercial manager Justin Greenaway told Sky News: "A PC is literally gold to us. There's probably about 70g of gold in every ton of computers. When we spin apart a computer we create metals and plastics and circuit boards. We melt the circuit boards to create gold from those."
But the challenge is to persuade people not to simply throw things away along with household rubbish.
Mr Greenaway said: "It's very tempting if something fits in a black bag it ends up in a black bag, and at that point it's rubbish, it's either going to waste-to-energy (incineration), or landfill and it's a sin considering the work and the commodities that have gone into creating the gadgets that we love."
Manufacturers are legally bound to help pay for the collection and disposal of their old products before new ones are allowed to take their place in shops. But by making and selling them cheaply they've created a throwaway culture, where it's simpler to replace than repair.
The UN researchers estimated that if valuable parts were stripped from every discarded piece of equipment it would be worth $55bn (£41bn). And yet 80% of it is discarded into rubbish tips, or cluttering up people's homes because they can't be bothered to dispose of it properly.
Report can be downloaded here:

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