Headphones and remote controls are among the most hoarded electrical and electronic waste in Europe
Old and broken clocks, irons, hard drives and routers also make up the mountain of electronic waste that lies in our closets, attics and garden sheds.
The statistics were released recently as part of International E-waste Day, which Ireland’s WEEE recycling leaders have backed by urging consumers to dispose of unused and hidden electrical appliances.
Figures show that out of the world’s 16 billion mobile phones, 5.3 billion will become waste in 2022 – and stacked on top of each other would stretch 50,000 km.
This year alone, the world will produce 24.5 million tons of small electronic waste, four times the weight of the Great Pyramid of Giza.
Leo Donovan, CEO of Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Ireland, said: “Despite containing rare precious metals and other recyclable components, many small devices are stored in drawers, cupboards, closets and garages or, even worse, are thrown away. in waste bins destined for landfill or incineration.
He added: “It’s an incredible waste of resources, it’s bad for the planet and prevents us from reusing these items or harvesting these valuable and rare resources so they can be repurposed to make new products.
“We therefore urge the public to take their e-waste to the authorized collection points of their local electricity dealer or recycling center.”
The top reason for hoarding end-of-life phones and other e-waste is “I could reuse it,” cited by 46% of consumers, followed by “I plan to sell or give it away” (15%) and “ It has sentimental value” (13%).
Data compiled by the WEEE Forum, which organizes International E-Waste Day, revealed that the most hoarded electrical and electronic products in Europe are: • Small consumer electronics and accessories such as headphones and remote controls • Household equipment such as clocks and irons • Small IT equipment including external hard drives, routers, keyboards and mice • Mobile and smartphones • Food preparation equipment such as toasters, food processing and grills. Out of 8,775 European households surveyed across 6 countries, the average household contains 74 electronics such as phones, tablets, laptops, power tools, hair dryers, toasters and other appliances.
13 of them, including 9 in working order, are hoarded.
A separate study by WEEE Ireland this year showed that 6 out of 10 people who bought an electrical item said they had recycled their old one. However, Irish consumers still recycled a record 18.7million e-waste last year, including 127,000 fridges, 205,000 TVs and monitors and over 2.3million light bulbs totaling 38,464 tonnes .
“We focused this year on small electronic waste because it is very easy for them to accumulate unused and unnoticed in households, or to be thrown in the ordinary trash,” said Pascal Leroy, Director General of WEEE. Forum.