Earth911 talks with Pascal Leroy, Director General of the WEEE Forum. October 14 is International E-Waste Day, when the world’s electronics producers and recyclers collaborate to increase the recovery and reuse of the more than 63.2 million tons of e-waste produced annually. But only 17.4% of that e-waste is currently recycled. The experience in the European Union, where 42.5% of e-waste is recycled, compared to about 15% in the U.S., provides useful lessons. Electronics manufacturers embraced E.U. extended producer responsibility (EPR) laws starting two decades ago but here in the U.S., EPR regulations are just being introduced.
During the COVID pandemic, purchases and use of electronics have increased around the world — in Europe, the estimated increase was 4.6% in 2020 compared to 2019 — making it more important than ever that we recycle e-waste.