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The Global E-Waste Monitor 2024

UNITAR: “The world is experiencing significant electronification, including a digital transformation, with technologies profoundly changing the way we live, work, learn, socialize, and do business. Many people own and use multiple electronic devices, and the increasing interconnectivity of urban and remote areas has led to a rise in the number of devices and objects linked to the Internet. This growth has seen a concomitant surge in the amount of EEE and e-waste. At the same time, the global e-waste collection and recycling rate is not keeping pace with this growth. The Global E-waste Monitor finds that by 2022, the world generated 62 billion kg of e-waste, or an average of 7.8 kg per capita. Only 22.3 per cent (13.8 billion kg) of the e-waste generated was documented as properly collected and recycled. In 2010, the world generated 34 billion kg of e-waste, and that amount has increased annually by an average of 2.3 billion kg per year. The documented formal collection and recycling rate has gone up as well, growing from 8 billion kg in 2010 at an average rate of 0.5 billion kg per year. The rise in e-waste generation is therefore outpacing the rise in formal recycling by a factor of almost 5. The Monitor highlights that growing amounts of EEE are being sold for the first time in developing countries; however, much of the equipment is originally used in developed countries and shipped for further use due to the subsequent relatively lower prices of devices. Monitoring e-waste quantities and flows is essential for evaluating developments over time, for setting and assessing targets, and for gauging the extent to which electronics can help reduce the impacts of climate change and minimize resource scarcity. When used to augment sound collection and recycling, appropriate data and laws can be extremely effective in accelerating environmental protection and the retention of valuable materials. However, without a comprehensive and representative picture of the global e-waste challenge, the true extent of this waste stream, and the negative externalities it creates, will remain unknown. On the other hand, for industry and policymakers to truly exploit the positive circular economy potential of the electronics sector, reliable data must be freely available to inform decision making.”

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