In the last two decades, advances in consumer electronics and personal computers have contributed to economic growth, changed information technology and improved people’s lives in many ways. However, our dependence on these electronic products in our daily lives has given rise to a new environmental hazard, which is called electronic waste.
Electronic waste or "E - waste" in short, is a general term used for electrical and electronic products that have met end of their “useful life”. This includes computers, televisions, monitors, laptops, cell phones, Vcrs, stereos, copiers, fax machines and almost any household item with electrical components, batteries or power supplies.
Today, e -waste is the fastest growing segment of trash in any society. A recent research carried out in Europe shows that e -waste is an epidemic growing at three times the rate of municipal waste. Unfortunately this growth rate does not include 75% of the e -waste which is still stuck in the storages of common people.
The amount of e -waste generated globally is estimated to be in the range of 50 million tons per year. Most of the e -waste is generated in USA and China. This is astounding when one considers that only fifteen years ago, under 1% of China’s population owned a computer. The US Government alone is currently disposing 10,000 monitors per week. 50% of the E -waste consists of refrigerators, washing machines, dryers, air conditioners, coffee machines and etc. The rest is equally shared by monitors, computers, televisions, DVD -VCR players and stereo.
E-waste is expected to increase by 30% within the next 5 years. Rapid product innovations and replacement, especially in office equipment and migration from analogue to digital technologies and to flat screen TVs and monitors are fueling this increase. 1.6 billion cell phones are sold every year around the world and cell phones only constitute 10% of the total e-waste.
Researchers estimate that around 700,000 tons of e-waste is generated in Turkey each year. Only around 3.5% (25,000 tons) of this e-waste is properly recycled at recycling facilities and the rest goes to dumps and land fills which end up polluting our country’s water and soil. Each person in Turkey generates an average of 8 kg of e-waste per year, where European yearly average is 24 kg.
There is an increased focus and awareness on recycling globally but recycling alone can’t keep pace with the massive consumption rates for new devices. Recycling rate reaches only 25% even in the most developed countries. So in that perspective, recycling alone is not and will never be the answer to the e-waste problem. Cutting down on production and consumption, extending the lives of devices with refurbishing is the most practical approach.
GCL aims to be one of the leading contributors to the solution of this major problem both locally in Turkey and in other countries we have business operations. Millions of obsolete electronic devices in Turkey are waiting to be recycled. It is time to act and be responsible for our future generations.
Let us handle your e-waste!