Global E-Waste Surging: Up 21% in 5 Years


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2 July 2020, Bonn — A record 53.6 million metric tonnes (Mt) of electronic waste was generated worldwide in 2019, up 21 percent in just five years, according to the UN’s Global E-waste Monitor 2020, released today.

The new report also predicts that global e-waste (discarded products with a battery or electrical plug) will reach 74 Mt by 2030 — almost a doubling of e-waste tonnage in just 16 years. This makes e-waste the world’s fastest-growing domestic waste stream, fueled mainly by higher consumption rates of electric and electronic equipment, short life-cycles, and few options for repair.

Only 17.4 per cent of 2019’s e-waste was collected and recycled. This means that gold, silver, copper, platinum, and other high-value, recoverable materials conservatively valued at US $57 billion — a sum greater than the Gross Domestic Product of most countries — were mostly dumped or burned rather than being collected for treatment and reuse.

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