by Filipa Moita

Study on the “Portuguese Habits in relation to Electronic Waste” reveals that 33.8% of the population still does not recycle WEEE and that 26.6% of citizens still do not know where to deliver this waste

Most Portuguese (66.2%) say they recycle Electrical and Electronic Equipment when they break down or are damaged and the majority (52.7%) of those who forward this equipment to receive a new life choose to hand it over appliance store or ask for it to be collected when they receive the new one.

Approximately 50% of the Portuguese place the equipment in a specific container to be recycled, with the Waste Collection Points for Electrical and Electronic Equipment (EEE) being the preferred place for 67.4% of the Portuguese to correctly deliver this waste. Although the data is positive, 26.6% of the population still does not know where to put WEEE and only 2.1% of young people between 18 and 24 years old have the habit to recycle their electronic devices.

The conclusions are contained in a study * carried out by Qdata, under the coordination of NOVA IMS Teacher Pedro Simões Coelho, for ERP Portugal and LG Portugal in order to understand the habits of Portuguese in relation to “electronic waste” in order to outline a strategy to improve the numbers of recycling of Electrical and Electronic Waste in Portugal.

The results of this investigation, carried out between 27 May and 30 July, with more than a thousand people at national level, are encouraging but there is still a long way to go to guarantee the recycling of WEEE and/or to extend the lifetime of the equipment that still works.

The study on “Portuguese Habits in relation to Electronic Waste” reveals that 45.5% of Portuguese people even offer other people, or an organization, the equipment that still works and that they no longer want, but 32.2% continues to choose to leave the equipment on the shelf, in the garage or in the cupboard, preventing it from being reused.

 

“It can still work” takes 59.2% of the Portuguese to leave their equipment in the closet

The national spirit of “can still work” in this case is revealed in its maximum exponent, with 59.2% saying that it keeps the equipment that it no longer uses, but that still works, because they can still be useful later. This trend returns to expression when the equipment is already damaged or damaged, with 24.4% assuming that remains with the WEEE to separate parts or materials to reuse or sell and 14.8% to express an intention to repair them later.

Small appliances, such as hair dryers or microwaves (30.35%), and mobile phones (28.25%), are at the top of electrical and electronic equipment that are no longer used and have been replaced by a new one in the last year; 25.9% of the first and 58.8% of the seconds end up tucked away in a corner of the house or garage with no destination.

This tendency to keep the equipment at home, with the intention of reusing it in the future, seems to reveal that the Portuguese are unaware of two fundamental premises regarding the recycling of WEEE, namely: many of the components of these devices are hazardous to health and the environment when they are not properly dismantled by entities specialized in recycling; when correctly sent they are almost 100% recyclable, being able to gain a new life and saving the use of natural resources.

If we add WEEE stored at home waiting for better days or new beginnings for all those that 33.8% of the Portuguese do not recycle, we have thousands of tons of equipment outside the proper circuits for recycling and/or reuse.

The promotion of this Study on the “Portuguese Habits in relation to Electronic Waste” arises from the union of efforts between ERP Portugal and LG Electronics Portugal to make the Portuguese aware of the importance of neutralizing some of the main environmental threats, among which “electronic waste”, of which only 15 to 20% is recycled worldwide. This is one of the initiatives that these two entities will carry out until the end of the year to promote and increase the selective collection of WEEE in our country.