Headphones are an essential part of many people's everyday wardrobe. For some people, going out without that pair of Beats or Sennheisers slung round the neck would be as unthinkable as leaving the house without pants. At the high end, headphones can cost hundreds of pounds and, with styling in leather and gold or chrome trim, are designed to be seen as well as heard.
But they're also delicate and complex bits of kit, and if they break down there's often no alternative to slinging them in the bin. That's where the problems start. Electronic waste is a major contributor to the huge amount of rubbish going to landfill every year. In the UK, we produce over a million tonnes of e-waste a year, and very little of it is recycled. Instead, it's shipped abroad, and ends up in toxic heaps in developing countries, where it leaches heavy metals and other nasties into soil and groundwater.
Up until now, there's been no way to recycle those old pairs of ear-warmers. But RecycleYourHeadphones.Com, a new campaign from Colour Your World by Urbanz, aims to increase awareness of the e-waste problem while making it easy for you to do something about it.
Much in the same vein as sites for recycling mobile phones or old CDs, you simply register online and pop your old 'phones in the post, where they're responsibly recycled. P&P is free, and you also get money off a new pair of headphones from ColourYourWorld by Urbanz--up to 45%. They're a registered recycler, so your 'phones will be responsibly recycled by accredited partners, keeping your own little bit of e-waste out of the system.
You might think that recycling your old pair or cans won't make that much of a difference. But 280 million headphones are sold worldwide every year, so every set recycled is one less going off to a toxic dump in India. It's estimated that global e-waste is set to reach 65.4 million tonnes by 2017--that's enough to fill a line of 40-tonne lorries streching from the UK to Australia and back. Let's see if we can do something about adjusting that curve in the right direction.
For more info, check out www.RecycleYourHeadphones.com, or www.cywbyurbanz.com for more about Colour Your World by Urbanz.