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EditorialsUp Front 06/05

Up Front 06/05

A £10million promotional campaign to encourage people in England to recycle ‘more stuff, more often’ gets a bit more publicity on June 27th, with a week of promotional events, press articles, television and radio exposure. While various recycling efforts are made by local councils, one area of waste that seems to become ever more frightening is electronic waste. According to one article last month, the British throw away at least one million tons of electrical equipment a year. It suggested that, based on present turnover rates, in an average lifetime each of us will get through 12 washing machines, ten fridges, eight cookers, three dishwashers and 185 other bits and pieces, which includes items such as televisions and vacuum cleaners. Total that up at today’s prices and it comes to around £20,000. Multiply that figure by a population of 60 million and even the calculator suggests you’ve made an error. If these figures are dreadfully wrong, lets say even by up to 50%, that’s still an awful lot of hard to recycle waste. A ‘Congressional E-Waste Working Group’ was formed last week in America to work on standardising national laws for the recycling and disposal of electronic waste, while a new EU directive, due to be enforced this August, aims to make manufacturers and retailers responsible for collecting and recycling their products. Presumably it would be far too damaging to industry to make products that last longer than their warranty period.

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