Ram Tumuluri – “The EU is starting a war on mobile waste”
Ram Tumuluri – “E-waste is the term used for electronic items that are discarded, not functioning, and approaching or ending their “useful lifespan.” Computers, televisions, stereos, and fax machines are some of the electronic products we use daily. The continuing challenge of how best to dispose of electronics used and discarded is not a new one and dates back to at least the 1970s. But, since then, a lot has changed, particularly the number of electronics being discarded today. In this article, our team takes a look at E-Waste with a focus on the EU and the environmental impact.
In this article:
- What is electronic waste?
- What the EU and the EEB doing about it
- The EU and the throwaway culture
- What should companies do differently?
- The environmental impact
What is electronic waste?
Electronic Mobile waste involves working and faulty items that are dumped in the trash or donated to a reseller or a charity like Goodwill. Sometimes, it’ll be thrown away if the item goes unsold in the shop. E-waste is especially dangerous because of toxic chemicals that seep naturally from the metals within when buried. According to PACE (Platform for Accelerating the Circular Economy), Europe ranks second in terms of e-waste with more than 12 million tons per year.
What the EU and the EEB doing about it
Consequently, the European Environment Bureau (EEB) has submitted a report exploring the impact of interventions that can enhance the lifespan of electronic devices. The estimates indicate that if washing machines were to run for just one additional year, they would have the same positive impact on the atmosphere as if 133,000 cars were taken off the road.
The EU and the throwaway electronic culture
The European Union essentially aims to get rid of the expected obsolescence, where manufacturers produce a product with a limited lifetime so customers have to buy a new one, which contributes to a throwaway culture. To this end, the European Commission has announced it would enact legislation to reduce the amount of waste produced by 2030.
By 2021, manufacturers across Europe will need to enhance both the reparability and service life of products like washing machines. Manufacturers do need to be more specific when it comes to providing details on energy usage on their product labels and supplying spare parts for at least 10 years after purchase.
What should companies do differently?
Other than protecting the environment, businesses are now starting to wake up to the risks of disposing of electronics. Studies have shown that global e-waste is having adverse effects on people working with the e-waste as well as those living around it. Because of this, we need to put in place a proper recycling process to protect us and future generations. Since we know customers will continue to purchase new products, it is important to continue to reinforce the message that we need to recycle the older ones, not throw them away.
The environmental impact
It’s also uncertain just how much longer electronic devices will last in the future, as is a more comprehensive program value review. But if the products are easier to fix, product inventory turnover would decline automatically, which will eventually lead to less electronic waste. Whether it’s by encouraging reparability or improving water use, smart eco-design makes us more effective in using our energy, bringing direct economic and environmental benefits.