52% of Romanians consider it important to hand over small electrical waste and batteries for recycling

de | May 9, 2024 | Home, News

ECOTIC is the partner organization in Romania within the project ECOSWEEE, partially funded by the European Commission through the LIFE program and coordinated by WEEE Forum, which aims to test different incentive methods to increase the collection rate of small electrical waste and portable batteries.

21 pilot projects will be developed in 12 countries to test the effectiveness of various incentives, including return-guarantee systems, direct payment, use of e-Commerce platforms, visible eco-contribution and other financial incentives. The project will develop policy recommendations that will be used to evaluate the new European directive on waste electrical and electronic equipment and the proposed regulation on batteries. Within this project ECOTIC has developed a study to find out the level of awareness and action of the population regarding the correct disposal of small electronic waste, especially mobile phones, tablets and laptops, as well as used batteries. The study was conducted in October 2023 on a sample of 1500 people, using the CAWI method. An infographic summary of the most significant results of the study is available here.

 Asked about their actions to live in an environmentally friendly way, in general, 31% of respondents confirmed that they take concrete actions in this regard.

How informed are Romanians about recycling electronics and batteries

Although in Romania the obligation to display the green stamp contribution has been in force for many years, only 41% know that in the price of the product the cost of collection and recycling of electrical and electronic products is included. At the same time,  52% think it is important for them and their family to recycle used small appliances and portable batteries.

Handing in e-waste and used batteries is still an unknown

The habit of keeping small electronics that you no longer use in the house is confirmed by 41% among the respondents, again 29% confirms this behavior for used batteries as well. Just 16% know clearly and concretely the options for disposing of used batteries and 10% in the case of electrical equipment waste. Drop-off option for small electronics at small profile stores not known by 60% of the population and of 46% in the case of those large sizes. At the same time, 64% declare that it would be easy for them to access these teaching solutions.

11% of the respondents admitted that do not properly dispose of used portable batteries, and the largest share is among those up to 30 years old, the main reason cited by 41% of them is the lack of easily accessible collection points/containers, followed by lack of information in this regard for 27% of them.

only 20% they replied that they know that in their locality the town hall and sanitation are in charge of collecting small electronic equipment. Only 46% trust that they will be properly recycled.

What happens to the mobile phones and laptops that Romanians are replacing

It is estimated that 21% of people replace their mobile phone even though it's perfectly functional, of those 50% keep the old one and 27% give it for reuse.

The reasons for keeping are: 50% say they keep it as a backup, 40% mention dates which they also contain 29% cite the lack of collection points .

In the case of laptops, Romanians' options are similar, 48% of Romanians keeping the old one, in the present case the most cited reason being the preservation of the data on them, followed by storage as a backup for future use. Also, 25% cite the lack of easily accessible disposal points. In the case of laptops, the percentage of those who choose handing over for reuse as an option is 29%.

The European situation of electrical waste

According Global E-waste Monitor 2024 small electrical equipment such as video cameras, toys, microwave ovens and e-cigarettes are the e-waste category with the largest share of the world's total e-waste, representing 20 billion kg in 2022, almost a third of the total.

It is estimated that in 2022, 14 billion kg of e-waste were improperly disposed of, landfill, along with other household waste, especially in high- and middle-income countries. Unfortunately, small electrical waste such as light bulbs and neon lights, IT equipment end up being disposed of together with household waste.