The 14th of October is international e-waste day, as you may recall from our article last year. This year it was focused on small devices and waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) that you toss in the general waste without a second thought.
Everyone has a junk drawer or an equivalent where you keep small things you might use in the future. Did you know that an average household keeps up to 5kg of electronics per person1, 2? Batteries, old cameras, and old phones get kept and stored away to ease our minds of the “what if I’ll need it again”. At some point that drawer, box, or cupboard starts to overflow. But when you go to empty it, it all goes straight in the general waste. This is why only 12.5% of all electronic devices are recycled correctly, meaning that almost 44 million tonnes are wasted3.
Electricals thrown in the general waste will either go to landfill or an incinerator. In a landfill site these materials would never fully breakdown and there is a high chance of contaminating the soil with leaking battery acid and other chemicals. In an incinerator, all the waste gets burnt. I hope you’ll agree that a burning phone would smell awful.
Small devices and electrical accessories (headphones, charging cables etc.) are particularly vulnerable to this fate. Large appliances are bulky, so as soon as they are not needed anymore, they are disposed of. They take up space and you know you are never going to use that fridge again. With smaller items it’s much easier to put them in a drawer to deal with later and then completely forget about them.
What can you do about this? Recycle it. Did you know that you can recycle your electronic waste in our offices and stores? As a producer of electronics, Samsung offer WEEE recycling services and trade ins for their products. This is also done by some of our third-party retailers e.g., Curry’s who offer in store take-back of your electrical items. Alternatively, you can find your nearest e-waste recycling point here.
The benefit of this is that the precious resources in these electricals can be extracted and used again in another device. This prevents the need to mine more precious materials and allows us to take another step towards a circular economy.
With this in mind, you might want to take some time to properly sort through your old electrical and electronic devices. So, remember ‘Recycle it all, no matter how small’.