MEXICO CITY – Mexico produces more than 358,000 tons of electronic waste annually, from digital devices to electrical appliances, the equivalent of 3.2 kilos (7 lbs.) of waste for every Mexican, according to estimates of the National Institute of Ecology and Climate Change (INECC).
In the Valley of Mexico Metropolitan Area alone, which includes the nation’s capital, more than 13 million devices considered waste are generated annually: televisions, sound equipment, telephones, computers and electrical appliances
Some 90 percent of this electronic trash has not been adequately put out of commission, which represents a risk to human health and the environment, INECC said.
Only 10 percent of this waste material is estimated to be recycled, while 40 percent remains stored in homes and the other 50 percent is left at waste transfer stations, scrap dealers, sanitary landfills or uncontrolled rubbish dumps.
The study “Diagnosis of the Generation of Waste in Mexico” by Dr. Guillermo Roman Moguel explains that electronic devices contain toxic pollutants that can harm human health and the environment.
Electronic residuals contain flame retardants, which are additives used in the plastic of computers, videogames and other electronic devices, precisely so they won’t catch fire easily.
However, when left in dumps outdoors they can very easily burn out of control.
When electronic equipment burns, it generates highly toxic dioxins that spread through the air people breathe.
Electronic trash also contains heavy metals that contaminate the earth and water, as in the case of lead, cadmium, mercury, chrome and arsenic.
The Recycling Electronics Mexico (Remsa) company says that 46 percent of trash generated by electrical appliances consists of glass and plastic, 31 percent of ferrous metals, 21 percent of non-ferrous metals and 2 percent of electronic materials.
Considering all that, the Environment Secretariat of Mexico City (Sedema) gives locals the chance to recycle on electronic and electric waste-collection days known as “Recyclotrons.”
The first Recyclotron on 2018 will take place next Jan. 26-27 at the Metropolitan Autonomous University (UAM).
Since 2013 there have been 52 Recyclotrons and 11 more are scheduled for this year in different parts of the Mexican capital.
Sedema reported that between 2013 and 2017 around 980,000 kilos (1,080 tons) of different electronic waste items were collected.