About 54 million metric tonnes (Mt) of e-waste was generated worldwide in 2019, up 21 per cent in just five years, according to the UN’s Global E-waste Monitor 2020. We take a look
The report predicts global e-waste — discarded products with a battery or plug — will reach 74 Mt by 2030
Fastest growing waste stream
This makes e-waste the world’s fastest-growing domestic waste stream, fuelled mainly by higher consumption rates of electric and electronic equipment, short life cycles, and few options for repair.
$57 billion worth of gold, silver, copper, platinum and other high-value, recoverable materials were mostly dumped or burned rather than being collected for treatment and reuse.
- 1 7. 4% of 2019’s e-waste was collected and recycled
Electronic waste contains toxic additives and hazardous substances such as mercury, which can damage our brain and affect neurological functioning.
50 tones of mercury — used in monitors, PCBs and fluorescent and energy-saving light sources — are contained in undocumented flows of e-waste annually.
98 Mt of CO2-equivalents were released into the atmosphere from discarded fridges and air-conditioners last year.
0.3% of global greenhouse gas emissions was sourced to this release
78 number of countries that have adopted a national e-waste policy