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Coronavirus and electronic waste: five steps to properly manage them at home

Restart from everyone's commitment to the environment: not only to avoid frustrating the efforts made during the quarantine, but also not to lose the way forward in the recovery of electronic waste. Ecolight, a national consortium for the management of waste from electrical and electronic equipment, exhausted batteries and accumulators, appeals to citizens by proposing a simple handbook.

For many, quarantine meant cleaning and small housework, notes Ecolight general manager Giancarlo Dezio. When placing a drawer or emptying a box in the cellar, old electronic equipment often emerged. Cell phones, blenders, remote controls and chargers of all kinds that had been set aside waiting to be brought to the center, but then ended up forgotten. We are talking about equipment that mainly belongs to the R4 grouping of WEEE. They are difficult to intercept waste, only one in five is collected and managed correctly: some follow unauthorized parallel management channels, others remain trivially hidden in the house; but they are objects that can lend a great hand to the cause of the circular economy. If properly treated, they are recyclable up to over 95% of their weight. This small mine that is often forgotten can thus make an important contribution to the environmental cause.

From a small appliance or from a remote control it is possible to obtain mainly plastic and metals that can be re-introduced into the production chain as secondary raw materials. In addition, the R4s are the WEEE that saw the highest growth in 2019: the quantities managed nationally increased by 15% compared to the previous year, recalls the general manager of Ecolight. A decidedly important effort which requires in this phase 2 not to be nullified; rather, strengthened with a small commitment from everyone

Coronavirus and electronic waste: five steps to properly manage them at home

Ecolight has drawn up a handbook for the domestic management of small WEEE, in order to prepare for an environmentally friendly restart after the weeks spent at home.

  • First, collect all electronic waste in one container. In the box you can put: joysticks, blenders, toasters, usb sticks, mobile phones and tablets with their chargers and earphones, routers with power supplies, bluetooth speakers, fans.
  • Energy-saving bulbs, LED bulbs and neon lights that are no longer working are also WEEE: you need to collect them in another box.
  • Remove – when possible – the battery from the devices destined for landfill. The operation that can be easy for remote controls that work with normal styluses, can be more complex to separate smartphones from their accumulator.
  • The batteries thus collected must be placed in a special container, possibly in plastic or metal to prevent any polluting substances from being dispersed.
  • Give everything to the municipal center. In phase 2 the Municipalities are reopening the ecological pitches where they can bring this kind of waste. Put the WEEE belonging to the R4 group, or consumer electronics and small appliances, in the appropriate containers; put those belonging to the R5 group (the light sources) in the appropriate containers; put the batteries and accumulators in a third container. For information on the opening hours of the center and how to access it, consult the website of your municipality of residence.

The commitment of each one can contribute to a correct restart. Dezio concludes. The way out of the emergency we are experiencing necessarily passes through the circular economy: the efforts made in recent years in an ecological key cannot be nullified by an economic run-up that does not take into account the environment. The first to set an example are the citizens, differentiating and correctly conveying their electronic waste.

All the Macitynet articles that talk about the Coronavirus pandemic and the impacts on the world of technology, work and distance learning, as well as on the solutions to communicate remotely can be found on this page. Instead all the articles dedicated to green technologies and the smart home are available in the dedicated section of our CasaVerdeSmart website.