4th edition of the Global E-waste Monitor, 2024

News Excerpt:

The 4th edition of the Global E-waste Monitor 2024 was recently launched. 

  • The Global E-waste Monitor 2024 is funded and prepared in partnership with the UNITAR SCYCLE Programme, ITU and Fondation Carmignac. 

Background & Objectives:

  • ​​The world is experiencing significant electronification and digital transformation. 
    • Many people own multiple electronic devices, and the increasing interconnectivity of urban and remote areas has increased the number of devices and objects linked to the Internet. 
  • This growth has seen a concomitant surge in the amount of Electrical and Electronic Equipment (EEE) and, subsequently, Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) or e-waste.​​​
    • When EE​E is disposed of, it generates a waste stream containing hazardous and valuable materials, collectively known as e-waste or WEEE.

Key Findings & Statistics:

  • In 2022, a record 62 billion kg of e-waste was generated globally (equivalent to an average of 7.8 kg per capita per year); 22.3 per cent of this e-waste mass was documented as formally collected and recycled in an environmentally sound manner.

    • From 2010 to 2022, both the amount of e-waste generated and the amount of e-waste documented to be formally collected and recycled have increased from 34 billion kg to 62 ​billion kg and 8 billion kg to 13.8 billion kg, respectively. 
      • Thus, since 2010, the growth of e-waste generation has outpaced formal collection and recycling by almost a factor of 5.
  • Documented formal collection and recycling rates vary significantly across regions. 
    • In 2022, Europe generated the most e-waste (17.6 kg per capita) and had the highest documented collection and recycling rate (7.5 kg per capita), recycling 42.8% of the e-waste generated. 
    • African countries had the lowest rate, with less than 1% of e-waste being documented as formally collected and recycled.

    • The growth rate of countries implementing e-waste policy, legislation or regulation is decelerating. 
      • 81 countries (or 42 per cent) currently have an e-waste policy, legislation, or regulation. 
      • This falls short of the ITU (International Telecommunication Union) target of 50 per cent (97 countries) by 2023.
    • Of the 81 countries covered by a national e-waste policy, legislation, or regulation, 67 applied the Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) principle, 46 had enshrined national e-waste collection targets in their regulations, and 36 had done so for e-waste recycling targets at the national level. 
      • It is essential to legislate such targets to monitor progress and stimulate the collection and recycling of e-waste.
  • The overall economic impact of e-waste management in 2022 was a loss equivalent to USD 37 billion. 
    • The main costs consist of USD 78 billion in externalized costs to the population and the environment, stemming from lead and mercury emissions, plastic leakages, and contributions to global warming, particularly in cases where hazardous substances are not properly managed.

  • Four 2030 projections and future scenarios for e-waste management were developed, which include (1) business as usual, (2) progressive, (3) ambitious, and (4) aspirational. ​
    • It is projected that 82 billion kg of e-waste will be generated in 2030. In a business-as-usual scenario, documented formal collection and recycling rates will decline to 20 percent in 2030. 
    • With documented formal collection and recycling rates at 22.3 percent in 2022, the world would not be able to meet the 30 percent target for 2023 set by ITU.​​


Ultimately, it supports national efforts to compile e-waste statistics that are useful for national policymaking using an internationally recognized, harmonized measurement framework.

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