New campaign highlights need for more sustainable electronics

sustainable electronics

The Royal Society of Chemistry has released the results of a new, global survey into people’s attitudes towards technology, sustainability, and precious elements, which highlights the need for sustainable electronics.

Their new survey asked participants from 10 countries around the world about their purchasing and recycling habits while gauging their attitudes to the issue of sustainability in technology.

The results showed that there is a real appetite for more sustainable technology options, but that people were frustrated with the lack of information around the topic, as well as the lack of straightforward options for recycling their tech or extending its lifespan.

Among the key findings, 60 per cent of consumers said that they would switch to a rival of a preferred tech brand if goods were produced sustainably, and, while the vast majority of consumers said they wished their devices lasted longer, they find it too difficult (68 per cent) or too expensive (71 per cent) to repair them when minor things go wrong.

Almost three-quarters (73 per cent) of people surveyed said that they believe governments should take urgent action to tackle e-waste before the situation gets any worse. Meanwhile, just over half (57 per cent) said that they worry about the environmental effect of the unused tech devices they have at home, but either do not know what to do with them or are unconvinced the current processes available in their local area deal with e-waste effectively.

Professor Tom Welton, President of the Royal Society of Chemistry, said: “Developing a circular economy where minerals used in tech devices are salvaged and repurposed could help us to bypass supply chain issues in the future while also helping to reduce environmental impacts. It is essential that governments and businesses urgently do more to develop a circular economy that can tackle the world’s growing e-waste crisis and alleviate the strain on supply chains.

“Not only do we need governments to overhaul recycling infrastructure and tech businesses to invest in more sustainable manufacturing practices, but we also need greater public and private investment in research to enable chemical scientists like those at N2S to progress methods of separating critical raw materials from electronic waste for recycling purposes.

“However, in the nearer term, we urge everyone to be more conscious about how they use and reuse technology. Before you dispose of or replace it, ask yourself if it really needs to be replaced. Could it be repaired or updated? If it cannot be sold or donated, could it be recycled?

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