emew Blog

Global E-waste Statistics

Posted by Alex Barshai on Oct 20, 2023 12:16:33 PM

Global e-waste statistics (Top Picks)

  • Annual e-waste generation: The world generated 53.6 Mt of e-waste in 2019. That’s an average of 7.3 kg per capita. The amount of e-waste generated is expected to grow at about 3.5% per year and will reach 74.7 Mt by 2030. (2)
  • E-waste recycling rate: In 2019 only 17.4% of the e-waste was collected and recycled. At the moment, the recycling activities are not keeping pace with the global growth of e-waste. (2)
  • Value of the e-waste: The value of raw materials in the e-waste generated in 2019 was roughly USD 57 billion with only USD 10 billion recovered in an environmentally accepted way. Based on the Global e-waste monitor, gold, silver and palladium alone represent about USD 13.5 billion in value. (2)
  • E-waste compared to the total waste: The world generates about 2 billion tonnes of waste annually of which 53.6 Mt in 2019 was e-waste. This means that e-waste represents about 2.7% of the total waste produced globally. (2)
  • E-waste is not the best waste for a landfill: Plastic in the e-waste can take up to 1 million years to decompose, while aluminum and other metals can take anywhere between 50 and 500 years to break down. Some components in the e-waste will pollute the environment rather than biodegrade. (3)
  • Mobile phones are a significant source of e-waste: Based on the Environmental Protection Agency report from 2014, in the US alone about 152 million mobile phones are discarded every year. (14)
  • E-waste manufacturing is very resource-hungry: It takes at least 240kg of fossil fuels, 22kg of chemicals, and 1.5 tonnes of water to manufacture a single computer and its screen according to a UN study. This is more than the weight of a car. (15)
  • E-waste represents a significant opportunity for circular economies: In 2019 seven UN entities released a report stating that annual e-waste production is worth over USD 62 billion annually. With only about 17% of e-waste recycled today, precious metals represent a significant value currently locked in the accumulated millions of tonnes of electronic waste. (16)


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Topics: electronic waste, e-waste