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Comment: Material Focus research on electronic waste

24 June 2020

Commenting on Material Focus' new research – that suggests UK residents could save the economy over £370 million by recycling their old electronics – Environmental Audit Committee Chairman, Philip Dunne, said:

“Material Focus' research shows us that we are a country of electronic hoarders – holding on to old laptops, old mobile phones, and no doubt other ‘antiques' of recent decades such as Walkman personal stereos, telex and fax machines.

“The Environmental Audit Committee is currently looking at the environmental impact of e-waste, with an estimated 2 million tonnes discarded in the UK every year. The Committee is considering how to ensure the sector can play a leading role in the circular economy by increasing repairs, reuse and recycling. During our evidence sessions, we have also heard of the potential health impact of e-waste, with toxic chemicals from electronics, if disposed of incorrectly, being hazardous to people.

“This research brings into sharp focus why we need to start dealing properly with the UK's mountain of hoarded electronics and e-waste, but also preventing electronics becoming waste in the first place. It not only makes environmental sense – potentially saving 2.8 million tonnes of CO2 – it could also save the UK economy over £370 million if precious and rare metals found within electronics can be reused.”

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