Did you know that many of the problems faced by the environment are caused by ordinary households? That means You and Me! Private households account for 30-40% of all environmental impacts. A massive 60-70% of the world’s energy is used by home electrical products according to the US Department of Energy and the majority of this percentage is used by ‘white goods’, which include refrigerators, freezers and washing machines. The remaining percentage is taken up by products known as 'brown goods, which are essentially entertainment items such as televisions, video recorders and audio equipment.
Two major environmental issues are raised by the increasing use of electrical goods. The use of energy to produce them and operate them and also their end-of-life disposal. Hence the introduction of European legislation to help combat the waste problem and encourage manufacturers to design and produce longer-lasting, more energy-efficient appliances. This legislation is known as the WEEE Directive (Waste Electronic and electrical goods).
The disposal of electrical items, particularly white goods (fridges, freezers, washing machines etc) is currently causing a massive problem in how to dispose of it. There is less and less landfill space available. In the EU waste, electrical and electronic products account for 6.5 million tonnes of waste each year.
We all have a responsibility to try and avoid sending appliances and electronic goods to landfill. Another growing concern is over the disposal of small appliances such as:
These are easily disposed of in the normal household waste stream and become "invisible". It is estimated that over eight million small appliances are discarded each year in the UK, virtually all of them ending up in landfill. The EU Directive has set recycling targets for all types of household appliances - 50% in the case of small appliances.