(ORDO NEWS) — In 2022, approximately 5.3 billion mobile phones will end up in landfills. The total mass of e-waste reaches 24.5 million tons.
This is four times the mass of the pyramid of Cheops, said the press service of the international non-profit organization Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Directive (Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Directive, WEEE).
WEEE specializes in the collection and recycling of electrical and electronic devices. The organization timed its report to coincide with International E-Waste Day, 14 October. According to experts, all discarded gadgets can become a source of valuable resources for the production of other electronics.
And this approach fully meets the principles of the “green” economy. Electrical and electronic equipment has become the fastest growing waste stream not only in Europe but worldwide.
Environmentalists working for the WEEE Directive conducted a study to find out how to maximize the collection and use of e-waste. As a rule, such waste contains gold, silver, lithium and cobalt, the reserves of which on Earth are quite limited.
Nevertheless, the share of collection of used and obsolete gadgets is very small in all countries. In particular, in the states of the former Soviet Union, the amount of e-waste has jumped by 50% over the past 10 years. Only 3.2% of this waste is properly recycled.
According to experts, miniature devices, such as smartphones, pose the greatest danger, as they are easier to throw away than larger devices. Mobile phones account for 8% of e-waste.
According to WEEE, if the phones had an average thickness of 9 mm and were stacked flat on top of each other, then the height of this tower would be 50,000 km. That’s 120 times the distance from Earth to the International Space Station, or an eighth of the way to the Moon.
Ecologists have calculated that by processing all this garbage, it is possible to replenish the world’s reserves of gold, lithium and other valuable metals by 5-7%.
But an even greater benefit is that toxic compounds of metals and carcinogenic organics, which are also part of gadget elements, will not accumulate in the environment.
Thus, forests and water bodies will remain clean, and people healthy. The experts called for the development of national and international plans for the development of projects for the processing of electronic waste as soon as possible.
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