Glasgow Program Tackles E-Waste And Gives Back To Community

UK -

Glasgow Program Tackles E-Waste And Gives Back To Community

In Glasgow, there is a campaign to repair, recycle, or ethically scrap electrical equipment.

Through Recycle Your Electricals, local resources like repair shops, conscious consumers, and statewide campaigns, devices are given to those who need them. With support from the Glasgow city council and the Remade Network, the Recycle your Electricals campaign is getting huge support.

By repairing, donating, recycling, and reselling, the company is essentially reorganizing the distribution of electrical goods. Sophie Unwin, Director of Remade Network says, “For too long, consumers have been blamed for not reusing and repairing enough when the facilities don’t exist for people to make better choices,” Remade Network is currently providing their Tech Drop service allowing anyone to donate anything with a battery or plug that will fit into a carrier bag and giving residents the option of “ethical binning.” As a result, they have been able to donate 1,000 computers, sourced from government offices, to households that lack internet access through 50 local charity organizations. The project has so far diverted 250 tons of CO2.

According to Material Focus, unwanted electricals cost approximately £17 billion ($24 billion). Many of these have to be dug out of the ground at extreme costs to businesses and to the environment through CO2 emissions.

According to Scott Butler, Executive Director of Material Focus, “This project is vital to ensuring that we make good use of our old electricals, ... Whether they are re-used or recycled—these items contain valuable materials that will otherwise be lost forever. Our research has shown that in the UK we are hoarding over 527 million small electrical items, an average of 20 per household.”

Remade Network and Material Focus receive money through the WEEE (Waste Electronic and Electrical Equipment) regulations, which define the parameters under which manufacturers should design products to ensure that they are recyclable. Taxes on non-compliance go into a fund that groups like Remade and Material Focus use. 

Worldwide, e-waste is a growing problem, but no massive solution has been found to address it. The recycling of old electronics into components, and then selling them cheaply to manufacturers, keeps precious metals in the ground, and keeps prices low in the shops. 127,000 people have already used Material Focus' recycling locator, which offers over 2,500 locations to recycle old e-waste.