Global E-Waste - Statistics & Facts

Electronic waste, commonly known as e-waste, is a term that describes consumer and business electronic products that have been discarded, including materials that are to be re-used, resold, recycled, or thrown away. The generation of electronic waste varies largely across the world, however, it is expected that emerging regions like Asia are likely to witness a large increase in e-waste generation as the penetration rate of consumer devices grows.

Many components of electronics may hold valuable elements and substances that can be economically reclaimed. The mechanical removal and separation of precious metals is commonly used in certain regions, but is associated with dangers to human health and the environment. New alternative processes such as cryogenic decomposition are being investigated to increase the recyclability of electronics. There are some components of e-waste that can be hazardous, depending on factors such as density and condition, which makes it necessary for e-waste to be disposed of safely. For example, some scrap components such as CPUs may contain lead, cadmium, or beryllium, which can be dangerous. Other materials, such as cathode ray tube (CRT) monitors are considered difficult to recycle due to high concentrations of lead and phosphors.

Countries around the world have begun to encourage their retailers to offer consumers recycling opportunities or proper disposal for their electronic products. As the volume of e-waste production is expected to continue to increase on a global scale, the recycling of raw materials for end-of-life electronics becomes an increasingly important effort to develop.

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