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International E-Waste Day aims to promote proper e-waste disposal and increase re-use

International E-Waste Day aims to promote proper e-waste disposal and increase re-use

Following its success in 2019, the third International E-Waste Day will be held on October 14th 2020 to promote the correct disposal of e-waste throughout the world.

International E-Waste Day has been developed by the WEEE Forum, an international association of e-waste collection schemes, and its members. It is used to highlight to consumers the importance of repairing or correctly disposing of their used appliances with the aim to increase re-use, recovery and recycling rates. Last year more than 100 organizations from nearly 50 different countries worldwide were involved and organized many different types of promotional activities, ranging from conferences and workshops, school and street collection to social media competitions and campaigns, and online guides and games. 

A record 53.6 million metric tonnes (Mt) of electronic waste was generated worldwide in 2019, up 21 per cent in just five years, according to the UN's Global E-waste Monitor 2020. It is estimated that by 2030, this number will reach 74 Mt. Only 17.4% of global e-waste was collected and properly recycled in 2019, which means that 44.3 million metric tonnes of e-waste, valued at US $57 billion, were either placed in landfill, burned or illegally traded and treated in a sub-standard way, and this is despite 71% 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.

In a dedicated message for the 2019 edition of the International E-Waste Day, Karmenu Vella, the then EU Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, expressed his support for the International E-Waste Day, saying, "All the activities that take place around the world during this day show that electronic waste is a big issue and what we can do to reduce, reuse and recycle. Electronic waste is indeed a big issue. It is the fastest-growing waste stream globally. It is growing at around 3-4% per year. We need to act quickly and decisively to deal with it."

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