Experts warn that human-made technological trash amounts to millions of tonnes of metals, polymers, and valuable mineral resources each year. E-waste is seldom recycled. Instead, these are burned or disposed of in landfills.

The global "mountain" of trash electronic and electrical equipment could reach 57.4 million tonnes this year, more than the Great Wall of China, the world's heaviest artificial object.

Just in time for International E-Waste Day 2021, researchers presented their findings on the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment WEEE Forum. Experts urge households, corporations, and governments to help repair, recycle, and reuse unwanted electronic goods.

According to the experts, huge volumes of electronic trash should be viewed as a resource in and of itself, potentially recovering precious materials while reducing the demand for new resources.

Experts claim per Recycling Product News that each tonne of electronic trash that is not recycled has a carbon impact of two tonnes.

(Photo: CRISTINA ALDEHUELA/AFP via Getty Images)
TOPSHOT - Young men burn e-waste at Agbogbloshie dumpsite in Accra on November 29, 2017. The dumpsite is located in Agbogbloshie slum, a former wetland in the '60s and home of refugees who fled the conflict in the north of Ghana during the '80s.

Researchers Note A 21% Increase In E-Waste

The Waste Electronic and Electrical Equipment (WEEE) Forum team claimed a 21% increase in the amount of e-waste created between 2014 and 2019. The world is on track to see 74 million tonnes of electronic waste per year by 2030.

They blamed the problem on rising electronics consumption - increasing by 3% each year - and shorter product lifecycles and fewer repair alternatives.

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WEEE Forum Director-General Pascal Leroy said many variables make the electrical and electronics industry resource-efficient and circular. In 2020, our member producer responsibility organizations, for example, collected and responsibly recycled 2.8 million tonnes of e-waste.

According to Leroy, manufacturers will need to continue mining all-new minerals as long as individuals do not return their used, broken equipment, sell it, or give it. He warned that this might have severe consequences for the environment.

E-Waste: 17.4% Of Electronics Just Recycled

Although e-waste today contains anything from gold and silver to precious glass and other rare earth elements, only around 17.4 percent will be appropriately recycled, according to ABC. This is based on data from 2019.

This is in contrast to popular belief that 40 percent to 50 percent of garbage is recycled. According to the WEEE Forum, this is the case. It is presently International E-Trash Day, a yearly event organized by the WEEE Forum to raise awareness about the growing problem of electronic waste. IBM has launched an AI solution to assist businesses with climate change analyses, VentureBeat said.

Making recycling alternatives accessible to the general public, according to Leroy, might be a key to boosting the amount of recycled e-waste. It was said that convenience is vital, which means that residents should quickly return their electricals to stores or civic amenity locations. As the environmental situation worsens, AI is increasingly being utilized to investigate climate change.

However, this year, the WEEE Forum's focus is on recycling, which is an essential element of diverting trash from landfills. Experts even underscore that individual customers should not be held responsible for what is ostensibly a systemic failure with specific systemic remedies.

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