Britain's E-Trash A Growing Problem

Consumer electronics, with their ubiquity, rapid technological advances, ever-lower prices, and fashion trends, have never been easier to buy -- or throw away.
February 28, 2006, 9am PST | Michael Dudley
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"Nationally, Britain's electronic mountain is crashing into landfill at an extraordinary rate. No one knows exactly how much is thrown away because it is dumped along with the kitchen scraps and broken furniture. But industry sources estimate that 100 million fridges, TVs, computers, mobile phones and other items of electronic equipment are discarded every year. They weigh 936,000 tons - the same as 2,400 jumbo jets.

The startling fact is that all of these products can be recycled using new technology; the country's first Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) recycling plant has just opened in the North-east. And none should even be entering the dumps at all. By August 2005, Britain was supposed to have introduced new European rules stipulating that all electronic waste be recycled. Under the directive, retailers of electronic goods pay for the collection and producers pay for the recycling. This has been introduced in all almost EU countries - but not in Britain. The Government's response has been slow."

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Published on Monday, February 27, 2006 in The Independent
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