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International Electronic Waste Day: what do we do with technological waste?

In 2019 WEEE Forum, an international association representing 40 e-waste management organizations from around the world, installed the day of Electronic Waste (RAAES) with the intention of raising awareness about the environmental impact of technological waste.

According to the United Nations global E-waste Monitor 2020, in 2019 a record 53.6 million tons of electronic waste. This represents a 21% increase in the quantity in just 5 years and it is estimated that by 2030 that number could reach an alarming 74 million tons.

Technological garbage

Argentina registers an average of between 10 and 12 kilos of appliance waste per inhabitant per year, which represents some 500,000 tons per year, according to the relief of the Zero Basura Civil Association.

There are several issues to keep in mind when we talk about “Technological scrap”: on the one hand, the pollution they generate when their treatment is improper (in Argentina only 10% is disposed of correctly) and, on the other, what is discarded but could still be useful for other uses.

On this last issue we are going to emphasize that in Argentina there are several organizations that are in charge of receiving electronic discards and turning them into useful devices for people or organizations that do not have access to technology. “It’s about reducing the digital divide”, Explain Viviana Ambrosini, Director of the E-Trash program at the National University of La Plata (UNLP).

Both the E-Garbage program and others in the country such as the Puente Project in Comodoro Rivadavia, are in charge of receiving electronic waste from individuals or companies and reconditioning what is suitable for donate it to educational institutions, children’s kitchens, popular libraries, among other. In these years, due to the pandemic, the need increased exponentially and programs like these became indispensable.

What is considered “electronic waste”?

Those electrical or electronic devices that stop working or are discarded as obsolete. Some examples are: cell phones, computers and their components, small appliances, televisions, etc.

For organizations that work in recycling and reconditioning, it is most useful to carry:

  • Keyboards and mouse
  • Monitors
  • CPU o notebooks
  • Cell phones
  • Printers
  • Cables of all kinds (especially electrical ones)

What does not work is sent to cooperatives or companies that are dedicated to the recycling of components such as plastic and metals.

Where to take the RAAES

https://e-basura.unlp.edu.ar/articulo/2018/3/5/recepcion_de_materiales

https://www.facebook.com/proyectopuente/

https://www.buenosaires.gob.ar/agenciaambiental/puntos-verdes/punto-verde-movil/cronograma-de-puntos-verdes-moviles

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