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UK urges tech companies to help tackle excessive e-waste in damning report

Added 11-27-20 01:09:04am EST - “The country generates more e-waste per person than any country besides Norway.” - Engadget.com

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Posted By TheNewsCommenter: From Engadget.com: “UK urges tech companies to help tackle excessive e-waste in damning report”. Below is an excerpt from the article.

A damning report from the House of Commons Environmental Audit Committee (EAC) claims the UK falls well behind other countries in managing electronic waste. Committee members also suggested major companies such as Amazon and Apple discourage recycling and repairs through some of the practices they employ.

The UK generates 23.9kg of e-waste per person each year. That's the second-highest level of e-waste per capita after Norway, according to a recent UN report. 

Much of that waste is incinerated or goes to landfill, while around 40 percent is sent to other countries, often illegally. "In the countries that receive our electronic waste, it is often dumped, with toxic chemicals leaching into the environment and harming people," the EAC wrote.

The report notes online marketplaces like Amazon and eBay aren't always considered retailers or producers. Many products are sold by third-party retailers — around 50 percent of goods in Amazon's case. As such, those platforms aren't obligated to contribute to the collection and recycling of e-waste. The committee urged them to "collect products and pay for their recycling to create a level playing field with physical retailers and producers that are not selling on their platforms.”

The EAC slammed the notion of intentionally shortened device lifespans, too. While that practice might encourage consumers to buy newer products, it has a negative impact on sustainability. 

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