20 Staggering E-Waste Facts in 2021

20 Staggering E-Waste Facts in 2021

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It feels as if electronics have been made to be thrown out yearly, proper? From cellphones that simply occur to die proper when your contract is over to televisions that develop into out of date as quickly as a bigger, thinner model debuts.

While each technology of electronics will get a little bit extra environment friendly, we must always make our telephones, tablets, TVs, and computer systems final so long as doable to cut back the quantity of e-waste despatched to landfills — and most of our electronics nonetheless go unrecycled. Most stunning of all, although, is the billions of {dollars} value of valuable metals and rare-earth components that go into landfills every year due to carelessly disposed of electronics. Countries are actually throwing away cash each day.

 E-Waste Explored

What is taken into account e-waste? More than simply outdated cellphones, e-waste is any digital waste that’s not needed or is now out of date, whether or not it really works or not. Televisions, set-top packing containers, DVD gamers, stereos, copiers, fax machines, tablets, computer systems, and lots extra digital units all develop into e-waste as quickly as they’re not needed. Technology carries severe environmental consequences after we don’t recycle e-waste responsibly.

E-waste isn’t all the time simple and handy to recycle. Local governments usually have e-waste assortment days a couple of occasions a yr, however that implies that owners must retailer the undesirable objects within the meantime. Several digital shops will settle for electronics for recycling without charge, together with Best Buy and Staples. And a number of electronics firms settle for their merchandise for recycling, together with Apple, Samsung, Microsoft, and Dell.

old electronic equipment stacked up in a room

E-Waste Exposed

With lack of ease and doable charges to recycle e-waste, it looks as if an uphill battle to deal with this rising waste downside that comes with poisonous supplies which can be considered detrimental to human well being upon publicity. The following stunning details about e-waste could assist to spur motion — each to guard the surroundings and to cease losing sources that quantity to various money being tossed in landfills every year.

  1. Global e-waste volumes grew by 21% between 2104 and 2019, according to the United Nations, a tempo that may result in a doubling of e-waste in simply 16 years. The world discarded 53.6 million tons of e-waste in 2019.
  2. Only 17.4% of e-waste discarded in 2019 was recycled, the United Nations reports.
  3. Europe leads the world in e-waste recycling, gathering, and processing 42.5% of its 2019 e-waste, according to the International Telecommunications Union. Asia, with 24.9 million tons of e-waste, now accounts for nearly twice the e-waste quantity the Americas (13.13.1 million tons) produce every year. Asia additionally recycles extra of its e-waste, at 11.7% in 2019, than the Americas do at 9.4%.
  4. The United States generated 6.92 million tons of e-waste, about 46 kilos per particular person, in 2019. It recycled solely 15% of the fabric.
  5. The worth of the uncooked supplies contained within the e-waste produced within the U.S. throughout 2019 was $7.49 billion. That’s proper. We threw away billions of {dollars} value of supplies that may very well be used once more.
  6. Recycling 1 million laptops saves the vitality equal to the electrical energy utilized by 3,657 U.S. properties in a yr, based on the EPA.
  7. For each million cell telephones which can be recycled, 35,274 kilos of copper, 772 kilos of silver, 75 kilos of gold, and 33 kilos of palladium might be recovered, according to the EPA. For these not conversant in palladium, it’s a valuable steel utilizing for making electrical contacts in addition to surgical devices and components for watches.
  8. Recycling circuit boards might be extra worthwhile than mining for ore! One ton of circuit boards is estimated to comprise 40 to 800 times more gold than one metric ton of ore. There is 30 to 40 occasions extra copper in a ton of circuit boards that may be mined from one metric ton of ore.
  9. Old tv units in addition to CRT (cathode ray tube) displays comprise roughly 4 to eight kilos of lead, a neurotoxin. Improper disposal means this poisonous substance can leach into the bottom.
  10. It takes 500 kilos of fossil gas, 50 kilos of chemical compounds, and 1.5 tons of water to fabricate one laptop and monitor, according to the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
  11. In 2019, between 3.75 million tons and 10.72 million tons of e-waste have been shipped to creating international locations. Not solely did it create a dumping downside in these international locations, nevertheless it additionally used sources to move the waste to international locations around the globe.
  12. Guiyu, China, is a significant dumping ground for e-waste from the U.S. After the e-waste is transported to China, the electronics are dumped within the city the place they litter the streets and poison the residents. Workers apply to the electronics to disclose the metal and copper they comprise. High ranges of lead have been reported amongst residents.
  13. Not all e-waste recyclers are the identical. There are safer methods to recycle e-waste, after which there are firms that merely export the waste to creating international locations. Rather than monitoring the recycling of e-waste for well being and human security requirements in these creating international locations, many companies merely have residents disassemble the electronics for scrap steel, exposing the employees to poisonous supplies. Look for an e-waste recycling firm that has been vetted by way of e-stewards.org.
  14. Plastics in e-waste might be recycled into backyard furnishings. Battery parts might be reused in different batteries. Metals can be utilized in jewellery and automotive components.
  15. It is estimated that 40% of the heavy metals in U.S. landfills come from discarded electronics, based on Jonas Allen, director of promoting for EPEAT, a worldwide inexperienced digital score system.
  16. According to Allen, if the recycling charges for gold (15%), silver (15%), and platinum (5%) all elevated to 100%, the electronics sector might notice $12 billion in monetary and pure capital advantages.
  17. Americans throw out roughly 416,000 cellphones every day, based on 2014 figures from the EPA. That equates to greater than 151 million phones thrown away in a single yr.
  18. There are extra cell connections worldwide than the variety of folks on Earth. Based on mobile information, there are 10.36 billion mobile connections, whereas the world inhabitants is 7.84 billion. This doesn’t imply that everybody owns a cell machine; the variety of folks with cell units is estimated at 5.26 billion.
  19. The United Nations estimates that international e-waste volumes might enhance by as a lot as 39% to 74.7 million tons a year by 2030.
  20. Many main retailers will settle for e-waste for recycling, no matter whether or not you bought the product from the retailer or not. Among these shops accepting drop-offs are StaplesVerizon, and Best Buy. Always name forward of time to substantiate that shops will settle for e-waste and what forms of merchandise they may recycle.

E-waste doesn’t must imply “recreation over.” Educate your self on how one can correctly recycle e-waste.  Once you’ve accomplished that, search our recycling database to seek out electronics recyclers in your space.

Want extra e-waste data? Read What Happens to E-Waste When It Gets Recycled?

Originally revealed on February 24, 2016, this text was up to date in March 2021.