News Karnataka
Wednesday, November 29 2023

Discarded vapes annually equal six Eiffel Towers in weight

Discarded vapes annually equal six Eiffel Towers in weight
Photo Credit : IANS

New Delhi: Every year, unused cables, electronic toys, LED-decorated novelty clothes, power tools, vaping devices, and countless other small consumer items often not recognised by consumers as e-waste amount to nine billion kilograms of e-waste, one-sixth of all e-waste worldwide.

This “invisible” category of e-waste in one place would equal the weight of almost half a million 40-tonne trucks, enough to form a 5,640 km bumper-to-bumper line of trucks from Rome to Nairobi.

Invisible e-waste is the focus of the sixth annual International E-Waste Day on Saturday.

Many of these devices, such as vapes, gaining in popularity in some societies, contain lithium, which makes their battery rechargeable but also causes serious fire risks when the device is discarded.

Moreover, the European Commission considers lithium a ‘strategic raw material’ crucial to Europe’s economy and green energy transition, but supplies are at risk.

Most of these materials are thrown away in household bins and elsewhere.

The Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Forum, which organises International E-Waste Day, commissioned the UN Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) to calculate the annual quantities of “invisible” e-waste items in millions of kilograms, in millions of pieces, and in kg and pieces per capita.

Some 3.2 billion kg, 35 per cent, of the roughly nine billion kg of invisible e-waste are in the e-toy category: race car sets, electric trains, music toys, talking dolls and other robotic figures, biking computers, drones, etc. — in all, some 7.3 billion individual items discarded annually, an average of about one e-toy for every man, woman and child on the earth.

Meanwhile, the estimated 844 million vaping devices each year amount to a mountain of e-waste equal to three times the weight of New York’s Brooklyn Bridge or six Eiffel Towers.

The study also found that 950 million kg of cables containing precious, easily recyclable copper were discarded last year — enough cable to circle the earth 107 times.

Many are stored in homes, perhaps put aside for potential future use. And many people don’t realise they could be recycled — a huge sleeping resource at a time when demand for copper is forecast to rise six fold by 2030 in Europe alone to meet the needs of strategic sectors such as renewable energy, electric mobility, industry, communications, aerospace and defense.

The value of raw materials in the global e-waste generated in 2019 was estimated at $57 billion, most of that attributed to iron, copper and gold components.

Of the overall total, one-sixth or $9.5 billion in material value each year, is in the invisible e-waste category.

Pascal Leroy, Director-General of the WEEE Forum, says: “Invisible e-waste goes unnoticed due to its nature or appearance, leading consumers to overlook its recyclable potential.

“People tend to recognise household electrical products as those they plug in and use regularly. But many people are confused about the waste category into which ancillary, peripheral, specialist, hobby, and leisure products fit and how to have them recycled.”

Share this:
Support NewsKarnataka's quality independent journalism with a small contribution.

How useful was this post?

Click on a star to rate it!

Average rating 0 / 5. Vote count: 0

No votes so far! Be the first to rate this post.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.
Editor's Pick

Find the best odds at 10Cric and IPL Betting 2023! Signup today and get up to a 100% deposit bonus.

To get the latest news on WhatsApp