Eco Innovation

Curbside collection of electronic waste must be fast-tracked

18th March 2024
Paige West

On Global Recycling Day, James Rigg, CEO of Trojan Electronics and Chairman of CLEAR, a trade body of consumer electrical leaders, is urging the government and electronics manufacturers to come together to support nationwide curbside collection of electronic waste, in order to meet sustainability goals.

“Curbside collection of electronic waste must be fast-tracked to meet sustainability goals.

“Recycling electronics saves a considerable amount of finite materials from being needlessly used each year. It also averts more than 700 million tonnes of CO2 emissions from the atmosphere. Each year countless electronic items end up in general waste collections as the public does not have an accessible outlet to recycle them. If we are going to reduce the amount of damage to the planet, we’re causing a collective effort is needed. The public, government and electronics producers must unite for positive action.

“Research by Trojan Electronics shows the majority of consumers (71%) already consider the environmental impact of their electronics when purchasing them. Twinned with their existing familiarity with general waste curbside collections, this simple initiative has the potential to have a colossal impact on recycling end-of-life electronic items. The UK is the second highest e-waste producer in the world and if circular practices aren’t in place this e-waste ends up in landfill sites around the world.

“For now, we are relying on retailers and delivery companies to handle any collections. For consumer electronics, particularly white goods, the majority of customers are buying a replacement. Therefore, with any delivery comes an opportunity for a collection too. If delivery companies collected all faulty machines, they could then send them to a sorting point where any reusable parts can be recycled. But they can’t do it on their own a collective effort is required.

“The introduction of curbside e-waste collections is an open goal, with people already sorting their plastic, cardboard, and glass waste. Current conversations on introducing the e-waste collection scheme in 2026, mean an additional two years of missed opportunity. Complacency in its roll-out only means more irreversible damage to the planet. For the UK to collectively reach net zero goals by 2035 and to achieve true electronic circularity the current status quo must change and fast.

“What’s more, the introduction of these collections and the subsequent processing of the materials collected will create further jobs for the UK economy.”

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