Melon's E-waste Day
How often do you buy a new smartphone, headset, or smartwatch? A camera, television, or just а battery?
What happens to the old ones?
And why do we ask those questions?
Because electronic waste (e-waste) is a huge global problem. It’s the world’s fastest-growing waste stream. Yes, part of it is recycled for valuable elements such as gold and copper, but yet mountains of once beloved but now outdated devices are still primitively burnt or simply unloaded at dumpsites. This poses a great risk to the environment and our health. When e-waste is warmed-up, toxic chemicals are released into the air damaging the atmosphere and the air we breathe. Or the harmful materials seep into groundwater, affecting any living creatures both on the land and in the water.
According to the Global E-waste Monitor report for 2017 of the United Nations University (UNU), 44.7 million metric tons of e-waste were generated – the equivalent of almost 4,500 Eiffel towers.
What is e-waste?
All items of electrical and electronic equipment and its parts that have been discarded without the intent of re-use.
The six e-waste categories:
1) Temperature exchange equipment such as refrigerators, freezers, air conditioners, etc.
2) Screens including televisions, monitors, laptops, notebooks, and tablets
3) Lamps like fluorescent, high-intensity discharge, and LED
4) Large equipment including washing machines, dish-washing machines, electric stoves, etc.
5) Small equipment such as vacuum cleaners, microwaves, toasters, etc.
6) Small IT and telecommunication equipment like smartphones, GPS, printers, etc.
As of 2019, the world produces as much as 50 million tons of e-waste a year. It is reported that only 20% of this number is formally recycled. The other 80% either end up in landfills, burned or recycled with no supervision.
What are the solutions?
Durable product design, buy-back and return system for used electronics, recycling, and urban mining to extract raw materials from the e-waste.
But the main mantra is REPAIR and REUSE. If not, find a place where they'll treat your e-waste properly.
And that’s what Melon did. We partnered up with a company specialized in e-waste disposal to take care of the collected waste. We asked our colleagues and our neighbors to bring the e-waste they have at home and have no idea how to dispose.
In a day, we gathered:
Large equipment waste - 120 kg.
Small equipment waste - 52 kg.
Small IT and telecommunication equipment - 143 kg.
Screen waste - 105 kg.
Batteries - 40 kg.
Total of 460 kg.