Brazil braces for increase in e-waste as fans upgrade TVs for the World Cup


Brazil’s demand for bigger televisions will drive a surge in e-waste. A man watches the 2010 cup. Photo by Flickr user Straberrymaya

As the World Cup kicks off in Brazil this week, plenty of Brazilians without tickets are at home watching the action on new televisions. Quartz.com reports the demand for newer and bigger TVs has spiked during the months leading up to the tournament and Brazil’s National Association for Electronics Producers expects to sell 16 million TVs this year. To compare, Brazillians bought 12.2 million televisions in 2010 to watch the last World Cup, held in South Africa.

But all of these new TVs mean a lot of old, trashed electronics. According to a World Bank study, Brazil produced 14 lbs. of electronic waste per person in 2011 and the government expects that number to grow to 17.5 lbs. for 2015. Television sets make up the largest type of e-waste in Brazil, and with no firm laws established to recycle and handle the old sets, the country could have quite a problem on its hands as people abandon their old tube-TVs, which have some toxic components that should be properly disposed.

Perhaps Brazil could learn from Kenya. In March, PBS NewsHour weekend profiled an innovative program in Nairobi where officials hope to build a recycling hub for thousands of tons of imported E-waste.

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