Press release 2019-01-24

Circular Electronics Day aims to extend the lifespan of electronics

Today’s extensive consumption of electronics lead to alarming amounts of waste and the release of substances hazardous to human health and the environment. Finite natural resources are extracted from the ground at a fast rate and reserves are running low. By prolonging product life, individuals and organizations can contribute to a more sustainable future.

– In Sweden and other wealthy countries we get rid of our electronic devices and gadgets at the end of like, rather than end of life. There are well functioning second hand markets but we need to spread more initiatives to reuse, upgrade and remake electronic products to make them stay in the user phase as long as possible, says Hanna Ljungkvist Nordin, project leader at IVL Swedish Environmental Research Institute.

On January 24, Circular Electronics Day takes place for the second time. More than twelve organizations internationally stand behind the initiative which aims to increase awareness of why electronic products should be given a longer life through repairs, upgrades and reuse.

50 million metric tons of electronic waste is being generated per year worldwide. E-waste contains valuable metals as well as hazardous substances that are often released into the environment and affect human health. Even more waste is generated when the products are manufactured — to make a notebook computer, 1,200 kilograms of waste is produced, for example from the mining and metals industries. The environmental problems are a result of today’s linear economy where raw materials are extracted to manufacture products which often have a short lifespan before they are discarded.

The organizers of the initiative encourage both individuals and organizations to contribute to a more sustainable use of electronics by sharing tips and inspiring others to reuse products with the hashtag #CircularElectronicsDay.

Five easy steps that can extend the lifespan of electronics

  • Buy second hand. By asking for used products or products that are designed for reuse, both individuals and organizations can contribute.
  • Repair and sell. By repairing, erasing old dat upgrading it, you can give it a longer life.
  • Buy certified. If you must buy a new product, choose one that is certified according to a sustainability certification compliant with ISO 14024. Criteria must then be comprehensive, relevant and cover the product’s full life cycle.
  • Buy high quality. Purchase a high-performance product. It enables you to keep it for a longer period of time.
  • Reuse. Electronics contain valuable resources and shouldn’t be treated as waste. If it’s not possible to reuse or sell your old products, hand them in to a recycling facility or another collection point where the materials are taken care of. Many retailers accept that you leave your old products with them for recycling

For more information, please contact:

Hanna Ljungkvist Nordin, hanna.ljungkvist@ivl.se, 010-788 68 99