It’s hiding everywhere. Lurking in your bottom drawer. Quietly taking over your garage. Sleeping under your bed. Cowering at the back of your cupboards. It might sound like something out of a Halloween movie, but this is far more real.
According to the UN, a whopping 61.3 million tonnes of electronic waste will be discarded this year. Read that number again. It’s huge. And only 17.4% of it will actually be disposed of properly, with the rest going to landfill or, more likely, just hoarded in our households.
And the problem here isn’t just the space it takes up. It’s the precious materials that those electronic items are made of. It’s the gold, silver and copper in the electronic connections and circuitry. It’s the rare and toxic elements that power the batteries. It’s the aluminium and plastic cases. All those raw materials had to be dug out of the ground, and if our e‑waste just sits in our drawer then it can’t be used by anyone else.
TBT Marketing’s e‑waste collection
Fortunately, there’s a whole community of people and organisations who are taking this seriously and trying to raise awareness around the importance of e‑waste recycling. The WEEE Forum runs the International E‑Waste Day each year on 14th October. And since the environment is a key part of TBT Marketing’s ethos, we decided to join in with this celebration by running our own e‑waste collection.
All our staff were encouraged to bring in their broken or unwanted electronic items from home. We ended up with a small mountain of items: phones with cracked screens, tablets with dead batteries, printers that don’t print, remotes that have nothing to control, cameras with fewer megapixels than scratches, laptops that need a week’s notice to turn on, power tools that no longer have power. And cables. So many cables.
These weren’t office supplies. This was people’s personal e‑waste. This means that – technically speaking – it wasn’t TBT Marketing’s responsibility. But we made it our responsibility. That pile of e‑waste was collected by an e‑waste collection company so that it could all be dealt with properly. Data would be deleted. Elements would be extracted. Chemicals would be neutralised. As much as possible would be recycled, saving it from landfill. And our bottom drawers.
The aim wasn’t just to help our colleagues declutter, as nice as that might be. It’s about fostering a positive attitude towards the environment. The hope is that in future people will be more willing to take responsibility themselves, recognising the positive impact that recycling their e‑waste will have.
You can get involved too
We can’t collect your e‑waste for you, sadly. But we do have some suggestions on how you can conquer your clutter.
We’re not advocating a disposable culture. If you don’t need it, don’t buy it in the first place. With Christmas just around the corner, that’s a good thing to remember – don’t give people electronic tat that won’t last.
With a little creativity, your old electronic items can be given a new lease of life. Old phones have all sorts of uses. And even if it’s no good to you, it might be useful to someone else. You could sell it on eBay or Facebook Marketplace, or just offer it to a friend or family member. Even if it’s not in perfect condition, reusing it will extend its useful lifetime.
Finally, if it’s really not useful anymore, it will need to be disposed of. Responsible recycling allows all those components to be broken down so that the raw materials can be extracted and made into new things. There are local recycling centres across the country, so there’s no reason for it to go to landfill.
We hope to have inspired you to think about your e‑waste in a fresh light, liberate your bottom drawer!