Access to technology is becoming more accessible for the common people, this fact, although it seems like good news, has very negative consequences for the environment.
Each year 50 million tons of electronic waste accumulate throughout the planet.
These data are derived from the report A New Circular Vision for Electronics, Time for a Global Reboot A New Circular Vision for Electronics: Time for a Global Reboot, presented at the World Economic Forum in Davos.
Unfortunately, only 20% of electronic waste is formally recycled, the rest ends up in conventional landfills.
Cell phones, computers, printers and household appliances, due to their components, are highly polluting for the environment, when recycling them is possible.
The United Nations University, which has collaborated with the report, warns that if the situation is not reversed, by 2050 electronic waste will have tripled.
Just calculating the manufacture of electronic products that connect to the Internet, the figure reaches 7.7 billion, more than humans on Earth.
E-waste is the fastest growing garbage in the world today, the report notes.
The study presented is the result of the work of the E-waste Coalition, or electronic waste coalition, which includes the ILO, the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), the United Nations Environment Program (UN Environment) , UNIDO, the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (Unitar), the UNU and the secretariats of the Basel and Stockholm conventions.
The coalition is supported by the World Business Council for Sustainable Development and the World Economic Forum, and is coordinated by the UN Environment Management Group (EMG) Secretariat.
What the law says
Although there are laws that mandate the recycling of electronic waste, as in the European Union, the objectives are not usually achieved efficiently. This year, for example, 85% of all waste should be recycled.
The big problem is that these electronic devices have programmed obsolescence and that is where efforts should be focused on producing quality products, and as a last resort, recycling.
It is necessary to unify legislation on e-waste recycling in innovative collection systems, said Ruediger Kuehr, co-author of the report, among other initiatives such as raising awareness among consumers so that they return obsolete equipment as soon as they stop using it and establishing that the product in question , remains the property of the manufacturer.
The study also indicates that tech waste represents an opportunity valued at about $ 62.5 billion per year, more than the gross domestic product of most countries and three times the output of the world's silver mines.
There is 100 times more gold in a ton of e-waste than in a ton of gold ore, the report says.
The study aims to create a new vision based on the circular economy and the need for collaboration with large brands, as well as with small and medium-sized companies, with academia, unions, civil society and their associations, in a deliberative process to change the system.
Implementing sustainable solutions requires international efforts that are partly revolutionary and harmonized with each other, he said.
Kuehr, noting that more research needs to be done in this regard.
It's easy for e-waste to be framed as a post-consumer problem, but the problem spans the life cycle of the devices everyone uses. Designers, manufacturers, investors, traders, miners, producers of raw materials, consumers, policy makers and others have a crucial role to play in reducing waste, retaining value within the system, extending the economic and physical life of an item, as well as its ability to be repaired, recycled and reused.
The case of Nigeria
Nigeria generates 500,000 tonnes of e-waste annually and the national government, the Global Environment Facility and UN Environment announced a joint initiative to create a formal recycling industry, in which the private sector will also invest.
This initiative will also formalize the work of some 100,000 Nigerians who are currently engaged in scrap and recycling.
While in Latin America and the Caribbean, a project on technological waste of the United Nations Organization for Industrial Development (UNIDO) co-financed by the GEF seeks to promote sustainable development in 13 countries, helping to establish strategies in each of them. and promoting regional cooperation.
With information from: