Add nothing to mountain of e-waste, campaign urges UK buyers | Ethical and green life

Black Friday and the pre-Christmas spending spree will create a mountain of e-waste as 5m of unwanted electrical items are thrown away or stored in Britain, a campaign group has warned.

The late November sales event kicks off Christmas business preparations and is followed days later by the Cyber ​​Monday ecommerce frenzy, with retailers offering discounted deals on a range of products ranging from phones mobiles to laptops and smart speakers. .

Research by campaign group Material Focus estimates that 5 million unwanted electrical items will be thrown away or accumulated after being supplanted by purchases made between Black Friday and Christmas. Material Focus, which leads the Recycle Your Electrical Appliances campaign, said any technology put aside by new purchases should be donated or recycled.

“With so many people struggling financially or in need of more technology, we all need to consider donating or recycling our old electrical devices,” said Scott Butler, executive director of Material Focus. “They are worth almost £ 160million for those who need them.

“If your old electrical appliances are really at the end of their life, don’t throw them away, because they will end up in landfill, please recycle them at a minimum. “

Estimates, based on a survey of 2,000 adults, indicate that at least 2.7 million older unwanted electrical items go to landfill and an additional 2.2 million are accumulated in the home. The most popular electrical purchases in the run up to Christmas include smartphones, headphones, tablets, laptops and speakers.

Britain’s e-waste problem is likely to be replicated around the world, with analysts estimating millions of new mobile phones will be purchased in the wake of Black Friday, boosted by the latest iPhone launch. Apple will sell 40 million iPhones worldwide between this weekend and Christmas, according to U.S. investment firm Wedbush Securities, despite a chip shortage that has hampered production.

Last year, an environmental audit committee investigation found the UK to be lagging behind other countries in tackling e-waste. The UK creates the second highest level of e-waste in the world, after Norway, with around 40% of waste sent overseas.

“Despite all their protests over the claimed sustainability, major online retailers and marketplaces such as Amazon have so far avoided playing their part in the circular economy by not collecting or recycling electronic devices like others. organizations must, ”MEPs said.

On Amazon’s UK website, recommendations for dealing with unwanted electrical products include taking them to a charity or recycling them to a facility owned by the local authority. Earlier this year, ITV News filmed Amazon destroying dozens of unwanted electrical products in a warehouse in Dunfermline. Amazon said none of the items went to landfill.

The value of recyclable materials left in landfill electronics is estimated to be in the billions of dollars. Thrown away computers, smartphones, tablets and other electronic waste have a potential value of $ 62.5 billion (£ 47 billion) each year, largely due to the precious metals they contain, including gold, silver, copper and platinum.

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