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Consumer awareness the focus of International E-Waste Day

International E-Waste Day 2021 will be focussing on the role consumers can play in boosting circularity for electrical and electronic products.

The WEEE Forum, a Brussels-based association representing 43 producer responsibility organisations worldwide, established the annual event which this year will be taking place on 14 October.

According to the UN, in 2021 each person on the planet will produce on average 7.6 kg of e-waste, adding up to 57.4 million tonnes generated worldwide. Only 17.4% of this electronic waste, containing a mixture of harmful substances and precious materials, will be recorded as being properly collected, treated and recycled. The WEEE Forum says none of the initiatives currently undertaken to tackle this growing concern can be fully effective without the active role and correct education of consumers.

‘Education and awareness are powerful tools for preventing waste and boosting separate collection and quality treatment,’ says Virginijus Sinkevičius, European Commissioner for the Environment in support of the initiative. ‘If you want to climb a mountain you need the right tools. International E-Waste Day is the right kind of tool.’

Previous events included activities ranging from conferences to school and city collection campaigns to competitions and games. In 2020 a general theme was awareness about Covid-19 restrictions with activities carried out by more than 120 companies from more than 50 countries. The pandemic meant a greater use of technology in the home and an increase in the consumption of e-products. According to a study commissioned by the European Parliament, demand for personal computers and tablets in the EU rose by almost 5% year-on-year.

The WEEE Forum has invited organisations sensitive to the issue of effective and circular e-waste management to plan activities for 14 October and register their support. Registered participants will get access to the official promotional materials.

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