October is e-Waste Month – 14 October is e-Waste Day
A recent study shows that a European citizen disposes of up to 1.4kg of old or broken electronics in the mixed waste bins. For a standard household, this means nearly 4kg a year. The situation is not much better in the US, where approximately 416,000 mobile phones each day are binned according to the United States Environmental Protection Agency. That means more than 151 million phones are thrown away every year. All this e-waste is then managed with mixed waste and ends up either incinerated or landfilled. It is estimated that even up to 40% of the heavy metals in U.S. landfills come from discarded electronics.
This is also a true loss of resources which could re-enter the manufacturing cycle. For every million cell phones that are recycled, 16 000 kg of copper, 350 kg of silver, 24 kg of gold, and 14kg of palladium could be recovered. E-waste is a true ‘urban mine’, and in some respects even richer than traditional mining: for example, there is 100 times more gold in a tonne of smartphones than in a tonne of gold ore.
“There are so many factors that play a role in making the electronics sector resource-efficient and circular. But one thing stands out: as long as citizens don’t return their used, broken gear to officially recognized collection points, or sell it on, or donate it to charity, we will need to continue mining the materials, which is much more damaging for the environment”, says Pascal Leroy, Director General of the WEEE Forum. “This is why the International E-Waste Day this year will focus on the responsibility we all have, as citizens, to help make the economy circular,” he added.
“Alongside convenience, (financial) compensation, care for the environment, culture and social norms, awareness is one of the key motivators for people to take action and return their unused and non-functional electronic items,” says Magdalena Charytanowicz, in charge of the organisation of International E-Waste Day. “This is why on 14 October this year we want to promote the proper disposal of end-of-life electronics and reach as many citizens worldwide as possible by encouraging campaigns and awareness activities. These may be e-waste collections, school lectures, press and social media campaigns or conferences that debate these issues. Even the smallest action promoting sound e-waste collection, repair, reuse or recycling is welcome in the frame of International E-Waste Day.”
Last year over 120 organisations from 50 countries worldwide supported the celebrations. This year too the WEEE Forum invites all organisations involved in effective and responsible e-waste management to plan awareness-raising activities for 14 October and join this common effort by registering here.
Iron-Air 100-hour Storage Battery Announced
OFFICIALS with battery maker Form Energy have announced the development of the Iron-Air 100-hour storage battery—a battery meant to store electricity created from renewable sources such as solar and wind. As part of their announcement, they note that their new battery is based on iron, not lithium, and thus is much less expensive to produce.
The team at Form Energy describe their new battery as a multi-day energy storage system—one that can feed electricity to the grid for approximately 100 hours at a cost that is significantly lower than lithium-ion batteries.
The basic idea behind the iron-air battery is that it takes in oxygen and then uses it to convert iron inside the battery to rust, later converting it back to iron again. Converting back and forth between iron and rust allows the energy that is stored in the battery to be stored longer than conventional batteries.
The batteries are much too big and heavy for use in small applications (or cars)—each battery is approximately the size of a washing machine. Instead, they are meant to be hooked together in massive grids capable of storing enormous amounts of electricity for days at a time. Cells are stacked inside of a water-based, non-flammable electrolyte, which the company claims is similar to that used in standard AA batteries—the cells are made of iron and air electrodes. Read more on Cape Business News.
New Global Green Hydrogen Organisation Launched
Australian mining billionaire Andrew Forrest on Thursday launched a green hydrogen organisation, GH2, in a push to speed up the development of the clean fuel to help curb global warming.
GH2’s goal is to ensure that by 2050 a quarter of the world’s energy comes from green hydrogen, which is extracted from water with electrolysis, an energy-intensive but carbon-free process if powered by renewable electricity.
Forrest has ambitious plans for the iron ore company he founded, Fortescue Metals Group, to diversify into renewable energy, betting on green hydrogen as a major new business.
“Green hydrogen is, in a way, the sleeping giant of the energy transition, and I believe will have a bigger impact on tackling climate change than any other technology,” Forrest said in a GH2 launch statement. Read more in the Daily Maverick.
California Recycling Firm to Pay $34M in Bottle and Can Scam
GWire reports: \”A California recycling company will pay $34 million for a long-running fraud scheme in which the firm illegally submitted bogus weight tickets and processed out-of-state bottles and cans to get inflated refunds for used beverage containers, authorities said Monday.
Recycling Services Alliance, Inc. and its operations manager, Maximina Perez, pleaded guilty earlier this month to recycling fraud, according to a joint statement from the California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery and the state Attorney General’s Office.
The company will pay $33 million in restitution and a $1 million fine. Perez was sentenced to seven years in prison, which will be suspended if she successfully completes five years of probation, the statement said. Restitution for Perez will be decided at a future hearing.\” Read more.