Special Edition - APPLiA's Digital Interviews: E-waste, all you need to know

The eight episode and special edition of the APPLiA’s series of short digital interviews is now available. Mr Eric Dewaet, CEO of Recupel, illustrates the impacts of e-waste on the environment and the key role played by consumers with this regard.

Today marks International E-Waste Day, an annual initiative launched by the WEEE Forum to raise awareness about the growing e-waste issue in Europe and around the world. This year’s theme will focus on the crucial part each of us has in making circularity a reality for e-products. For the occasion, we have asked Mr Eric Dewaet, CEO of Recupel, to share with us some insights on the importance of best e-waste disposal practices for consumers, in a ‘special edition’ of APPLiA’s series of short digital interviews.  

E-waste disposal is an ever-growing area of concern which needs to be addressed, but what impact does disposing of electrical appliances correctly truly have on society and the environment? “E-waste is the fastest growing waste stream in the world,” kicked off Mr Dewaet. By the numbers however, the collection of e-waste does not match up to the rate of its disposal. At the European level, only one-third of all generated electronic waste is properly recycled. “For each one of us to contribute to this challenge, is of utmost importance,” he pointed, highlighting that the recycling score of electronic devices amounts to over 80%.

At the recycling stage, there are gaps to be closed. “Recupel works to increase e-waste collection, in unison with treatment and reuse partners to push innovation and continuously increase levels of de-pollution and recycling results,” he detailed. Proper disposal ensures the least negative impact on the environment by resorting to reuse when possible, and to state of the art de-pollution as well as by returning raw materials for the production of new appliances. “This is what we call urban mining,” commented Mr Dewaet. In this context, consumers and e-waste disposal organisations must work together to advance the number of electronic waste being recycled. 

E-waste is a global issue and as such, it requires a global effort to be tackled. Each one of us plays a fundamental role in making circularity for e-products a reality. What exact steps should consumers take to dispose of a broken home appliance? According to data, around 11 appliances per household are left in the house unused, only in Belgium. “This is the first challenge to overcome,” he explained, shedding light on the importance for used or obsolete appliances to be taken to recycling points. Indeed, electronic devices contain harmful substances that, if not properly handled, can cause damage to the environment and the people.  

In one sentence, Mr Dewaet called on consumers “to all be ‘urban miners’” towards the establishment of a true circular economy in Europe and the wider world.

This and much more in the ‘special edition’ available at this link.