Every year we throw away millions of tons of electronic waste – old computers, mobile phones, televisions.
All of them have circuit boards in them. Now the Royal Mint has found a way to turn them into gold, which they’re planning to use to make commemorative coins. BBC Science Editor Rebecca Morelle has been to their factory in Llantrisant, in South Wales to find out how it’s going to be done. Watch the video on their website.
Right to Repair can be Part of the Solution
By 2030, experts estimate that 67 million tonnes of electronic waste (e-waste) will be produced globally. E-waste has been inherently linked to the repairability (or lack thereof) of today’s electronic devices. A surging pandemic, consumer behaviours, and changing legislation have impacted how we handle electronics at scale. Additionally, increased integration at the design levels has made profound impacts on a device’s repairability and recyclability.
Mark Kasper, COO of Clean Earth, an environmental and regulated waste management service, shared his perspective as an industry insider with All About Circuits. Aside from supporting a stronger right to repair momentum, Kasper also highlighted the importance of another practice—recycling—in the battle to slash e-waste accumulation.
It’s long been known that electronic devices contain numerous toxic materials. Compounds like lead, mercury, PVC, and cadmium can contaminate groundwater supplies. Electronic components containing these materials aren’t highly biodegradable and persist in landfills. And yet, one issue for Clean Earth and similar organizations is how states classify e-waste. While some deem these materials as “hazardous,” others group them into a category called “universal” waste. These definitions determine how recyclers and consumers must handle such electronics.
Global broadband less affordable in 2021 Reports ITU
Internet connectivity became less affordable around the world in 2021, according to the latest statistical analysis by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) and the Alliance for Affordable Internet (A4AI).
The share of people’s incomes spent on fixed broadband and mobile Internet services increased globally last year, in parallel with upticks in demand and usage compared to 2020, reveals an ITU-A4AI policy brief, The affordability of ICT services 2021.
Relative prices of fixed broadband services climbed to 3.5 per cent of gross national income (GNI) per capita globally in 2021, up from 2.9 per cent in 2020. The relative prices of mobile broadband services around the world also edged up to 2 per cent of GNI per capita, from 1.9 per cent a year earlier.
Yet people have sacrificed other goods and services to maintain reliable Internet access during the COVID-19 pandemic. Those who can have largely stayed connected, even at relatively higher prices.
“Broadband services have ceased to be a mere luxury,” said ITU Secretary-General Houlin Zhao. “They are a necessity for communication, teleworking, online education, and other essential services. Still, we must urgently address the issue of affordability if we hope to achieve our goal of universal and meaningful connectivity.” Read the rest of the ITU press release here.