WasteAid partners with recommerce expert musicMagpie ahead of attention-grabbing event at G7 to highlight the growing environmental threat of e-waste

Image: Adam Gasson/PA Wire

  • WasteAid has partnered with recommerce expert musicMagpie as part of its G7 campaign to tackle the global e-waste challenge, with a donation for each piece of tech sold to the site throughout June.
  • musicMagpie has created ‘Mount Recyclemore’ with artist Joe Rush to raise awareness about the environmental threat of e-waste during the G7 summit.
  • WasteAid is to develop e-waste guidance for communities and policymakers to recycle e-waste safely, help create employment opportunities and keep materials in the loop.
  • The UK is one of the worst e-waste offenders producing 1.6 million tonnes a year, yet four in five Brits don’t know what e-waste is.

WasteAid, the organisation that promotes and delivers waste management, recycling and circular economy innovations globally, has partnered with musicMagpie to highlight the negative effects of unmanaged e-waste.  WasteAid was delighted to enter this partnership and to be a key part of musicMagpie’s e-waste campaign which also focuses on the G7 summit.

If we don’t get e-waste recycling sorted, disc drives, circuit boards, solar panels and electric vehicle batteries could all be affected by the lack of availability of rare metals. Calls have been made to make e-waste recycling compulsory, to preserve the resources needed for low-carbon technology and meet climate targets.

As part of this G7 campaign a giant Mount Rushmore-style sculpture of the G7 leaders’ heads, made entirely of discarded electronics has appeared on a beach near Carbis Bay in Cornwall to highlight the growing danger to the environment of e-waste. Named Mount Recyclemore, the sculpture depicts world leaders including British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, American President Joe Biden and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, as they gather for the G7 summit to discuss how to tackle the climate crisis and build a greener future.

The Mount Recyclemore sculpture was created by musicMagpie, artist and founder of the Mutoid Waste Company, Joe Rush and sculptor Alex Wreckage. This installation with musicMagpie aims to encourage consumers to act more sustainably with electronics and support a circular economy.

WasteAid was delighted to join the G7 ‘Mount Recyclemore’ campaign and to further develop tools and projects to deal with e-waste, something the organisation recognises is a growing problem in the areas where they work.  Throughout June, musicMagpie will donate £1 to WasteAid for each piece of consumer tech customers trade in with them. In addition, sellers will have the option to donate the value offered by the recommerce platform to the charity.  Donations will be used to fund WasteAid’s sustainable e-waste management education programmes in lower-income countries.

“A green economy relies on the availability of resources to make low-carbon technology,” said Ceris Turner-Bailes, WasteAid CEO. “While low income countries don’t produce anywhere near as much e-waste as we do in the UK, safe recycling facilities are few and far between. Dumped e-waste harms the environment, as well as being a waste of vital and valuable resources. Thanks to musicMagpie, WasteAid will be able to develop e-waste guidance for communities and policymakers to recycle e-waste safely, help create employment opportunities and keep materials in the loop.”

E-waste is the fastest growing waste stream in the world, with the UN estimating the current 53 million tonnes of e-waste generated globally each year to more than double by 2050. musicMagpie’s own research, however, has revealed that four in five Brits don’t know what e-waste is, and some 45% aren’t aware of its climate impacts.

Unless urgent action is taken the issue of e-waste could worsen, as research from musicMagpie revealed that Brits are already sitting on £16.5 Billion worth of technology they no longer use, holding on average 11 unused devices per household*.

Almost half of Brits (47%) currently do not recycle, resell, or donate their old tech to charity, with most opting to hold onto it instead where it ends up at the back of drawers collecting dust. Perhaps most concerning is that almost one in ten openly admit to throwing old tech in the bin at home**.

Steve Oliver, founder and CEO, at musicMagpie, said:

“E-waste is a growing problem worldwide and its impact on the environment is significant. If sent to landfills, e-waste can leak harmful chemicals into the soil and water or if incinerated, fumes release chemicals into the air, contributing to global warming. Not only this, but everything from our phones to our laptops rely heavily on precious materials to operate, which are not only limited resources, but also directly impact climate change when being extracted from the earth.

“We need to better educate and empower people to make changes today. People can support a more sustainable, circular economy, by doing something as simple as trading in or recycling their tech, which will extend the life of those devices and their parts. Thanks to our customers, we are already able to give nearly half a million consumer technology products a second life each year.”

For more information and how to donate head to musicmagpie.co.uk/mountrecyclemore

About WasteAid: WasteAid is a leading international development organisation on a mission to tackle the global waste crisis. 2 billion people do not have their waste collected and 3 billion lack a decent disposal site, leading to the spread of disease and polluting the air, land, rivers and oceans. WasteAid shares waste management knowledge and skills with governments and communities in low-income countries; trains people to become self-employed recycling entrepreneurs; and influences decision-makers and the donor community to increase investment in waste management.

About musicMagpie: musicMagpie is a UK-based tech business at the forefront of the global recommerce revolution and is the smart, sustainable and trusted way to buy, rent and sell tech. It’s ‘Smart for you…Smart for the planet’.

The sculpture: 12 tonnes of e-waste was used to build Mount Recyclemore. The construction of Mount Recyclemore took roughly six weeks to build. The sculpture will be here at Sandy Acres beach until Sunday (13th June). People are more than welcome to visit and photograph the sculpture, however we advise those attending to ensure they socially distance and avoid creating large groups.

The research: The research was commissioned by musicMagpie, through Opinium in a nationally representative survey of 2,000 UK adults in May 2021.

*The research was commissioned by musicMagpie, through One Poll in a nationally representative survey of 2,000 UK adults in May 2020

** 9% of UK adults tend to throw their old tech into their general waste or recycling bins at home. (52,673,000 x 0.09 = 4,746,039)

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