Greece leads the European Union in smartphone recycling, boasting an almost 18 percent recycling rate, as per Eurostat data. This surpasses the EU average, where only 10 percent of Europeans recycle their old mobile phones.
Eurostat findings highlight Greece, Austria (17 percent), and the Czech Republic (15 percent) as frontrunners in recycling old smartphones. Denmark closely follows at approximately 12 percent.
Beyond recycling, the data indicates that 17 percent of Europeans opt to give or sell their old smartphones to individuals outside of their households, while 2 percent discard them without recycling. Additionally, nearly half (49 percent) admit to storing their old smartphones at home, possibly forgotten in drawers.
Laptop and Tablet Recycling in the EU
In relation to old laptops and tablets, 33 percent of Europeans keep them unused at home, and merely 10 percent participate in recycling.
As for Greece, the country also demonstrates commendable performance in recycling old laptops and tablets, securing a 16.5 percent rate. Sweden, Finland, and Denmark lead in this category with about 18 percent recycling rate. Croatia closely follows at 15 percent.
One in five EU citizens (19 percent) still retains old computers at home, while only about 13 percent of the population engages in recycling. Sweden stands out with 29 percent of its population recycling old desktop computers, followed by the Netherlands. Greece ranks in the middle with approximately 13 percent doing so.
Addressing the broader context, Eurostat notes the escalating use of information and communication technology (ICT) equipment. This results in increased waste from devices such as laptops, tablets, mobile phones, smartphones, and desktop computers. As mentioned by Eurostat, the given data brings forth “the question of what happens to ICT devices that are no longer required.”
Little Greek Island as Recycling Leader
The island of Tilos in Greece previously achieved global recognition as a recycling leader with an exceptional 86 percent waste recycling rate thanks to the “Just Go Zero” program introduced in December 2021 by Polygreen.
The island, which is home to just over five hundred residents and welcomes roughly thirteen thousand tourists annually, implemented an innovative waste management system that involved residents segregating their trash into recyclables, biowaste, and non-recyclables. European Commissioner for Environment Virginijus Sinkevicius praised the island’s program and expressed the hope that it would inspire many to follow in its footsteps.
Furthermore, Tilos stands as Greece’s first energy-self-sufficient island, producing one hundred percent of its energy through renewable sources. This achievement significantly reduces carbon footprint and lowers costs for locals.