Knowing about WEEE is highly crucial!

I got an email from my university to fill an online questionnaire and it is the first time in my life to learn about the gravity of threat associated with the waste of electronics equipment. I learned how some rare earth metals are being used in electrical and electronics equipment like laptops and mobiles.
One of the elements called Coltan, is extracted from African country Congo. Tantalum from coltan is used to manufacture tantalum capacitors which are used for mobile phones, personal computers, automotive electronics, and cameras.[1]

We normally keep our old phones or other electronic gadgets in our stores even after they are dead. As the time passes, they become harmful for the environment and also it breaks the recycling process of those rare elements.

Waste of electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) such as computers, TV-sets, fridges and cell phones is one the fastest growing waste streams in the EU, with some 9 million tonnes generated in 2005, and expected to grow to more than 12 million tonnes by 2020.

WEEE is a complex mixture of materials and components that because of their hazardous content, and if not properly managed, can cause major environmental and health problems. Moreover, the production of modern electronics requires the use of scarce and expensive resources (e.g. around 10% of total gold worldwide is used for their production). To improve the environmental management of WEEE and to contribute to a circular economy and enhance resource efficiency the improvement of collection, treatment and recycling of electronics at the end of their life is essential.

European Union has taken some initiative for this and some legislation processes are put forward.

A WEEE Directive (Directive 2002/96/EC) entered into force in February 2003. The Directive provided for the creation of collection schemes where consumers return their WEEE free of charge. These schemes aim to increase the recycling of WEEE and/or re-use. [2]

There is lot more to work on it, preliminary the need to make the masses aware of the sensitivity associated with this.

#WEEE #ElectronicWaste #Sustainability #EU

Sources:
[1] “Commodity Report 2008: Tantalum” (PDF). United States Geological Survey. Retrieved 2008–10–24.

[2] https://ec.europa.eu/environment/waste/weee/index_en.htm

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Muhammad Arshad Mukhtar

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