The production and usage of electrical and electronic equipment (EEE) can be extremely resource-demanding. The problem is exacerbated by accelerated EEE consumption, as the global rate grows annually by 2.5 million metric tons (Mt). In addition, many of the items produced have short life cycles and few or no repair options.
How can we improve management of WEEE, waste of electrical and electronic equipment?
Improved waste management, including reuse and recycling, delivers benefits not only for the environment and for reduction of greenhouse gases, but also for the economy and people’s health. E-waste, waste of electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE), contains hazardous substances and toxic additives, such as mercury, brominated flame retardants, chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs). It also often contains valuable materials: precious, critical, and other noncritical metals that can be recycled (e.g. iron, aluminium and copper) and used in new products. Discarded usable products can often be refurbished and resold.
E-waste policies, legislation and regulation
Today, approximately 80 countries have adopted a national e-waste policy or regulation, but enforcement is difficult. In 2019, only 17.4 per cent of e-waste globally was documented as recycled. This percentage must be improved. Recycling activities are increasing, but not fast enough to keep pace with the extreme growth total e-waste.
Nemko supports circular economy
Nemko supports the circular economy and the creation of value from the ‘urban mine’ that exists in properly handled e-waste. Together with manufacturers, we can ensure the production of sustainable products that are designed to last longer, are easier to reuse, repair and recycle, and include as much recycled material as possible, instead of primary raw material.