This Black Friday, go green
With the rise of online shopping, it has become easier than ever to find the best deals during the sales event of the year, leading people to consume, consume, consume. British shoppers are expected to spend £7 billion this year during Black Friday and Cyber Monday on 29th November and 1st December respectively. As people replace their old devices with new ones, what will happen to the electronic waste (e-waste) created from the sales?
Mountains of tech
In 2016, the world produced 44.7 million metric tonnes of e-waste – today, 1.4 million tonnes are thrown away in the UK alone. This year, it is expected that Black Friday and Cyber Monday will break previous sales records, many of which will be new phones and other electronic gadgets – resulting in a growing mountain of e-waste.
A staggering 40 million smartphones are now lying around unused in homes across the UK, while landfills are filled to bursting. In countries like Thailand, the effects are obvious, where mountains of e-waste are made up of scrap phones, computers and kitchen appliances. The current global system of electronic waste management is simply not keeping up with new production.
The problem with scrap
Electronics are made with materials that decay and leak toxins into the environment. Over time, the toxic chemicals of a landfill’s e-waste can seep into the ground, potentially entering water supplies or even escaping into the atmosphere – affecting the health of nearby communities.
Devices are also manufactured with precious metals such as gold, silver and platinum. These resources are lost to landfills, where they sit removed from the manufacturing process. Instead of recycling precious metals, we continuously mine and drill for new sources to replenish those lost – even though the Earth has a finite amount.
Just 20 per cent of global e-waste is recycled, representing a substantial waste of resources. Almost every component of an electronic device can be reused, yet phones and laptops are challenging for consumers to repair as the cost of replacing parts increases. Trying to maintain our tech before upgrading to a newer model is key to reducing e-waste and replacing impulse buy mentalities with reuse, reduce and recycling strategies.
Make Black Friday green again
At GSUK, we have launched a campaign to help consumers understand the challenges associated with Black Friday and Cyber Monday – and what they can do to help.
Throughout the next week we will be working to promote reducing, reusing and recycling old devices. Join us on social media as we share tips on how to make Black Friday green again – find us on Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram!
We have also set up a free post address for unwanted tech products – ensuring your old devices will benefit future consumers instead of sitting in landfills. If you are planning on purchasing new gadgets this Black Friday or Cyber Monday, please consider sending your old or damaged devices to Recyclewise – a mobile recycling and redistribution scheme. Our Freepost address is: Recyclewise, Genuine Solutions Ltd, Unit 1 223 Hook Rise South Industrial Park, Hook Rise South, Surbiton, KT6 7LD.