International E-Waste Day has been developed by the WEEE Forum, an international association of e-waste collection schemes, and 26 of its members and involves around 40 different organisations in 20 different countries worldwide. The inaugural event, set for Saturday October 13th, is being used to raise the public profile of e-waste and encourage consumers to correctly dispose of their e-waste with the resulting increase in re-use and recycling rates on the day itself and into the future.
It is estimated that 50 million tonnes of e-waste will be generated globally in 2018. Half of this is personal devices such as computers, screens, smartphones, tablets and TVs, with the remainder being larger household appliances and heating and cooling equipment.
Only 20% of global e-waste is recycled each year, which means that 40 million tonnes of e-waste per annum is either placed in landfill, burned or illegally traded and treated in a sub-standard way and this is despite 66% of the world's population being covered by e-waste legislation. This results in the huge loss of valuable and critical raw materials from the supply chain and causes serious health, environmental and societal issues through illegal shipments of waste to developing countries.
Initiatives being undertaken by participant organisations are meant to increase consumers' knowledge about e-waste and how to dispose of it correctly. These are many and diverse and include conferences, events, school and city collections, promotions in stores and recycling centres and an online guide for proper e-waste disposal. All of these will be promoted locally on and around the International E-waste Day.