Around half a billion small tech items thrown away

tech items thrown away

A study conducted by Material Focus revealed that almost 500 million little tech items, and electrical devices, including lights, portable fans, wires, and disposable vaporizers, were discarded in the past year.

The fastest-growing category of e-waste, according to this report, is “Fast Tech” items—the electronic equivalent of fast fashion.

Thirty unwanted electrical equipment are also likely to be collecting dust in the average home, according to the study.

All of these things can be recycled and contain important raw materials.

2000 respondents were surveyed by Opinium Research on behalf of Material Focus, a nonprofit organization. 471 million “Fast Tech” products were discarded in the UK last year, according to the replies. These goods included:

  • 260,000,000 single-use vaporizers
  • 30 million lights for decoration, solar power, and LEDs
  • Twenty-six million cables
  • 10 million USB devices
  • Seven million headphones without cables
  • Millions of tiny admirers

Although these things aren’t necessarily meant to be thrown away, their average price of £4 encourages people to think that way.

All of them have precious raw materials inside of them that can be recovered through recycling, such as lithium batteries and copper cables.

Material Focus executive director Scott Butler stated: “People might not realize that they contain valuable materials and will just throw them in the trash, meaning we lose everything inside of them rather than recycling them into something new.” The idea that anything that has a plug, battery, or wire can be recycled and that you can find a location to do it nearby is what we want to spread.”

Globally, the situation is similar. Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Forum research indicates that every year, consumers discard 9 billion kg of toys, vape pens, novelty clothing, cables, and other similar items that they frequently fail to identify as e-waste.

According to Material Focus’s research, there has been a decline in the quantity of electrical waste since 2017. This is partially due to the fact that a lot of electrical products are now lighter, but recycling rates have also increased. Currently, 60% of respondents claim to recycle their electronics.

tech items thrown away
Scan of a USB-C plug, highlighting copper wires and gold-plated connectors/ LUMAFIELD/RECYCLE YOUR ELECTRICALS

However, a lot of people also have 30 or more electrical things lying around in their homes that may be used more effectively, like cords, cell phones, and remote controls.

According to British Retail Consortium sustainability consultant Nadiya Catel-Arutyunova, “all retailers selling electricals, whether it be online or in store, are required to help customers dispose of their old electrical products – regardless of where they were originally purchased.”

Material Focus’s poll is based on a survey done by Opinium Research in July for Fast Tech and August-September for hoarded electricals, which involved 2000 nationally representative respondents. The number of vapes is based on a Yougov poll that was completed by 5,156 persons in June and August.

A nonprofit organization called Material Focus is committed to promoting recycling. Fees paid by electricity producers who fail to fulfill government recycling targets support it.

How can I recycle my electricals?

  • Used electronics can be recycled, sold, donated, or fixed if none of those options work.
  • Old electrical equipment can be collected by taking it to recycling centers, libraries, and other places. Certain councils will pick up right from your door.
  • Even if they didn’t originally sell you the appliances, retailers are nonetheless obligated to assist customers in getting rid of their outdated electronics.
  • A list of nearby recycling centers can be found on the Recycle Your Electricals page.

Credits: BBC

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