E-waste disposal sites are growing in the country | Brazil

and wastereproduction

Published 10/07/2022 15:24

Despite being the fifth largest producer of e-waste on the planet, Brazil is still making slow progress towards proper disposal and recycling of this type of waste. According to the “Electronic Waste in Brazil 2021” study, conducted by Green Eletron in partnership with Radar Pesquisas, only 3% of all waste is properly disposed of in the country.

Furthermore, according to the survey, the population did not adequately address this topic. Most Brazilians (87%) have heard of e-waste, but a third (33%) believe it is related to digital media, such as spam, email, photos or files. Another 42% of Brazilians consider electronic waste to be broken electronic devices and appliances. And only 3% believe that these are all the devices that have already become trash, that is, only those that have been discarded – admittedly incorrect.

The awareness of the population, necessarily combined with practical action, is of fundamental importance in this sense, and we can already see examples of activities that correspond to this purpose. One of them came from the UFMS (Federal University of Mato Grosso do Sul), which promoted, between September 20 and 23, through Facom (School of Computing), in Campo Grande, the “Week of Electronic Waste Collection”.

Moreover, other actions were carried out in Brazilian cities of various sizes. According to the Brazilian Association for the Recycling of Electronics and Devices, in a recently published report, Reverse Logistics Centers have already been installed in 24 capital cities of the country, as well as almost 3,700 reception points throughout Brazil, present in more than 1,200 Brazilian municipalities.

According to the data of the Ministry of Environmental Protection, about 1,200 tons of waste electronics and devices were received in 2021, which is 75 times more than that recorded in the previous three years.

Awareness and practical action

Hélcio Pinto, Head of Department at Advantech Brasil, highlights data from a survey conducted by Idec (Brazilian Institute for Consumer Protection), which shows that 32% of Brazilian consumers said they did not know how to properly dispose of electronic waste, while another 31% said that they lack information for that.

For him, the population’s awareness of the proper disposal of electronic waste must begin by informing the community about the importance of proper disposal of this equipment, with the availability of conditions and means for the proper disposal of the population. . In this way, he points out, “actions like those developed by UFMS help to raise awareness among the population, showing the need for proper disposal and providing space for the reception and future disposal of this waste.”

Facilitating access to landfills and encouraging population participation through the actions of producers themselves, startups, schools and universities, as well as non-governmental organizations, for Pinto, “are the keys to improving disposal and recycling rates in Brazil.”

Another option, for the executive, would be to implement solutions with IoT (Internet of Things) technology, such as actions carried out with collection and recycling machines that perform real-time monitoring, allowing companies to see the status of collection machines, making a more efficient process and encouraging more people to recycle. “The idea would be to encourage proper disposal with discount coupons,” he points out

Pinto lists some points that manufacturers, companies, governments and consumers should pay attention to, such as: developing and sourcing products with practices to reduce environmental impact; implementation of the reverse production process; abolition of the use of harmful substances that require complex and expensive treatments in the production process; encouraging the consumption of products that have more environmentally sustainable properties; accountability to manufacturers, importers, trade, recyclers and public authorities, through control instruments, to maintain the participation of these members in the proper management of post-consumer electronics.

Finally, Edmar Azevedo, department supervisor at Advantech Brasil, adds that, aware that e-waste and its packaging can harm the environment, manufacturers and companies also “need to start implementing an integrated policy of quality and environmental management, with recommendations of good environmental practices regarding proper disposal of each product”, making such recommendations available to customers and interested parties. “A simple action that can be taken to encourage conscious e-waste disposal in Brazil,” he concludes.

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