By Envision Racing
Nearly half a billion small, electrical items – including vapes, USB sticks, LED lights and cables – ended up in UK landfill in the last year, according to new research from our friends at Material Focus. The pro-electrical-recycling organisation discovered that these throwaway items are now the UK’s fastest growing source of discarded electrical items, otherwise known as ‘e-waste’.
E-waste is becoming an increasingly urgent environmental issue. Humanity is drowning in cables, computers and mobile phones. This year, each person on the planet will produce 8kg of waste tech, according to the United Nations.
Altogether, this adds up to 61.3 million tonnes – more than the weight of the Great Wall of China.
And it’s not just a problem on waste sites. It’s also in our homes. The average British household has up to five charging cables, three mobile phones and three remote controls. This cannot go on. On this planet, there is only a finite amount of the metals and materials used in electronic devices. We can’t expect to keep extracting, using and discarding them endlessly.
The reality is that even the cheap and small items that we view as disposable still contain precious materials that should be recycled – like copper, lithium and stainless steel.
The 14th of October is International E-Waste Day, which aims to highlight the growing issue of electronic waste and promote its responsible management. A global lack of public awareness is preventing countries from developing circular economies. Even in Europe, which leads the world in e-waste recycling, only 54% of used electrical items are collected and recycled.
That’s why Envision Racing launched the global Waste to Race campaign in April – designed to make people aware of the mounting e-waste problem and their critical role in stemming it. Our team might exist to inspire people to take up electric mobility, but we also know that vehicle electrification must go hand-in-hand with a zero-waste approach to the planet’s precious resources.
Our campaign had two parts: a competition for children and young people to build mini racing cars from e-waste and, in an extraordinary world first, the launch of a full-sized and drivable Formula E race car made from discarded tech.
For the former, we partnered with Cartoon Network, while we launched the racing car, designed by British artist Liam Hopkins, at the ExCeL event centre in London, on the 28th of July, the eve of our world championship win.
Now’s the time! Everyone must start viewing used tech as a vital resource.
This International E-waste Day, we’re calling on everyone to pledge to reduce and recycle their e-waste by signing up to our Race Against Climate Change initiative.