MEXICO CITY – Mexico generates roughly 1.03 million metric tons of electronic waste annually, the second-highest total in Latin America, Mexican e-waste recycling company REMSA said.
Ilse Moreno, of REMSA’s commercial support office, told EFE that eight out of every nine electrical or electronic devices in Mexico become garbage that arrives at landfill sites, ravines or clandestine dumps or are put aside at home, while just one is recycled.
According to “The Global E-Waste Monitor 2017” study, a collaborative effort of the United Nations University (UNU), the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) and the International Solid Waste Association (ISWA), Mexico and Brazil head the list of e-waste generators in Latin America.
The study says that in 2016 an average of 11.6 kilograms of e-waste was generated per inhabitant across the Americas (including the United States, the top producer region-wide), while the collection rate stood at just 17 percent.
In Mexico the amount of e-waste per inhabitant was 8.2 kg.
“Each kilogram of recycled electronic equipment is equivalent to one kilogram of unused fuel, a kilogram of garbage that isn’t burned, buried, thrown into the sea or illegally exported to other countries,” Moreno said.
She added that REMSA, a company based in the central city of Santiago de Queretaro that is a leader in the professional recycling of e-waste, collects, reuses and comprehensively recycles the raw materials recovered from electronic waste.
“The goal is to prevent that waste from contaminating the environment and affecting the health of communities,” Moreno said.
E-waste contains contaminants harmful to human health such as mercury, beryllium and lead, some of which are associated with cancer.
The burning of e-waste produces highly toxic substances such as dioxins and furans that react when directly exposed to the inclemencies of the weather. Water, the sun, the air or temperature changes make them a latent risk.
“If electronic waste is recycled properly, it doesn’t pose a risk to health,” Moreno said.