Lack of a recycling culture in Mexico poses a risk to groundwater sources and habitat
Every Mexican discards between seven and nine kilograms of electronic waste every year, putting it among the top three countries in the Americas in terms of the volume discarded.
Only the United States and Canada are ahead of Mexico for the quantity of garbage that includes microcircuits used in computer motherboards, cathode ray tubes from older monitors and batteries.
Making matters worse is that Mexico has no recycling culture, says Heberto Ferreira Medina of the Ecosystems and Sustainability Research Institute of the National Autonomous University.
Pointing out that the total of electronic waste produced last year could amount to 900,000 tonnes, Ferreira Medina warned that such waste is highly polluting, posing a risk to groundwater sources and habitat.
The volume has been growing steadily since 2010 when, according to the National Institute of Ecology, the average Mexican threw out between three and five kilograms. That figure has been estimated to have reached nine kilos last year.
Ferreira Medina said consumers need to be encouraged to adopt proper disposal practices, such as separating the plastic and metal components and then recycling them when recycling becomes available.
“The recommendation is that [electronic waste] not be thrown in the garbage. It is better to wait for the reciclatrones or reciclones, an initiative of federal authorities and private enterprise.”
He said that as a result of the government’s campaign to replace older analogue televisions by giving away a newer digital model, the disposal of the former has been out of control.