With electronics consumption increasing annually, the volume of electronic waste is going up as well. The average Slovak produces over 7.5 kg of waste from electronic equipment per year, which means that the overall volume of electronic waste amounts to dozens of millions of kilograms every year. Some of the waste materials may be reused but a large part of the waste from electronic equipment still ends up in landfills.
More than three years ago, ASEKOL SK, a producer responsibility organisation, launched a unique project in order to increase the proportion of correct electronic waste management. The goal of the ambitious red-and-white containers project, of which more than 200 may be found in Slovak towns and cities, is to prevent electronic waste from being thrown into municipal waste thereby reducing environmental pollution and increasing the proportion of separated waste in individual municipalities.
This should be facilitated by bringing the collection network closer to consumers. Ronald Blaho, the company´s CEO, believes in the great future of the project. “It is important that the public understands that, after electronic equipment reaches the end of its service life, it should not be thrown into municipal waste where it poses a threat” he says, adding that by continuously extending the collection network they wish to raise awareness of separating and to teach people to recycle electronic waste as well. “We can see that people like and appreciate this option” says Blaho, and the statistics prove this well. Via the containers, the company collected as much as 48,000 kg of electronic waste and batteries in 2019.
It is undeniable that recycling electronic equipment helps save precious natural resources, and it protects the environment as well as human health. Blaho thinks the container network is also an efficient tool in combating electronic waste landfilling, which is currently a global issue. According to the UN, only 20% of globally-produced electronic waste is recycled. In Slovakia it is approximately 50% according to Eurostat statistics. Partially, this is thanks to ASEKOL SK, which has facilitated collection of electronic waste through red-and-white containers for one tenth of the Slovak population.