Upgrades Drive Consumer Media Gear E-Waste

UK's Waste & Resources Action Programme (WARP) conducted a study of the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) content of Household Waste Recycling Centres (HWRCs). What can we learn, besides UK greens' fondness for initials? Turns out media, not IT, gear is the largest category. Upgrades are driving this waste stream.

…one third is equipment such as DVD and video recorders, radios and TVs. This is followed by small household appliances…Consumer equipment (TVs, radios, DVD players etc.) is less likely to be disposed of because it is broken compared to other types of WEEE. Over half at HWRCs is thrown away because it is being replaced with a newer item or is no longer wanted…Testing found that 12% of WEEE at HWRCs is in full working order, with a further 11% viable for resale following repair.

There is an upside to all this. "…it is estimated that a maximum of around £220 million in resale value could be obtained. Once the cost of purchasing and repairing the items has been accounted for, the net value of this equipment is around £106 million, ignoring the cost of transport and handling."

E-waste impact of the conversion to digital television.

Few US states recycle consumer e-media gear beyond TV sets.