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In fact, without adhering to stringent processes, audits and policies, we would not be able to fulfil our obligations. Find out more and see how we also help keep your business legal and compliant.
E-waste Volumes Are Expected to Rise by 21% to 50 million tonnes in 2018.
According to this year’s Global E-Waste Monitor report, we managed to generate nearly 42 million tonnes of waste electrical and electronic equipment, otherwise known as WEEE, across the globe in 2014. The report that was published by the United Nations University, the academic research arm of the UN, also predicts that the amount of WEEE we produce is going to increase by more than 20% to reach 50 million tonnes by 2018.
However, it is not just the sheer amount of this waste electrical and electronic equipment that is shocking, the amount of money it is worth is as equally outstanding! The Global E-Waste Monitor report estimates that the gold, copper and plastic components of the waste from 2014 would be worth a staggering £34 billion.
It’s not just computer related waste that comprises these totals, you might be surprised to know. In fact, a large amount of the waste that was discarded from domestic environments included kitchen, laundry and bathroom equipment. Microwaves, washing machine and dishwashers were the most common domestic appliances in the waste.
Surprisingly, mobile phones, calculators, computers and laptops, printers and other smaller pieces of technology made up less than 10% of WEEE in 2014.
The United Kingdom seems to be one of the worst culprits at throwing away electronic and electrical equipment; the country appeared in the top five of the list of ‘per-capita’ producers of waste electrical and electronic equipment. Also in the top five were, Norway, Switzerland, Iceland and Denmark.
The report calculated that on average, in the UK, each inhabitant processed around 23.5kg of this waste last year; this amounted to a total of 1.5 million tonnes in the whole country. However, it is China and the US who were the worst offenders of all; they produced 32% of the whole world’s WEEE in 2014 when their totals were combined.
With figures like that, it is not difficult to believe that the UN describes this waste as ‘an escalating global e-waste problem’. They believe that it is being caused by the ever shortening life cycles of modern electrical equipment, which is being bought more and more regularly.
Whilst this ever increasing amount of waste ‘constitutes a valuable urban mine’, to quote David Malone, Rector of UNU, ‘the hazardous content of e-waste constitutes a ‘toxic mine’ that must be managed with care.’
The monitor was intended as a means of guiding policymakers in each country, as well as for producers, and recycling industries across the world. It could also be used to help to control illegal trade and support technology manufacturers. In fact, if it teaches manufacturers one thing it should be that the shelf life of equipment should be made as long as possible, for the sake of the environment.
Malone hopes that the Global E-Waste Monitor report will also ‘eventually lead to improved resource efficiency while reducing the environmental and health impacts of e-waste.’