Global e-waste climbs 8% in two years, but disposal discrepancies remain

Electronic waste rose to a record squandering gold other metals Study

Electronic waste rose to a record squandering gold other metals Study

India passed e-waste management rules in 2016, introducing the concept of extended producer responsibility for the first time, placing the onus of collecting and disposing end-of-life electronics on producers.

The Global E-waste Monitor 2017 found that items ranging from televisions to solar panels created an e-waste "mountain" equal in weight to nearly nine Great Pyramids of Giza. That number is expected to rise again by 17 percent by 2021, totaling almost 52.2 million metric tonnes of e-waste.

Phys.Org is reporting the 44.7 million metric tons is the equivalent of 4.500 Eiffel Towers, or1.23 million fully loaded 18-wheel 40-ton trucks, according to the report from the UN's International Telecommunication Union, the UN University (UNU) and the International Solid Waste Association. "In the Southern and South-Eastern Asia region, India plays an important role in the domestic generation of e-waste due to the large population, but the country also imports from developed countries", the report said.

Rüdiger Kühr, head of the UN University's Sustainable Cycles Programme, told Reuters this was a surprise considering 67 nations, covering two-thirds of the world's population, had legislation about processing e-waste. If you're unfamiliar with e-waste, it is any kind of electronic device that has been discarded. However, the environment ministry proposed lowering targets this October after the industry argued that meeting the disposal targets were not achievable given India's poor state of e-waste collection and disposal.

The report also notes positive news - that there is now a growing number of countries adopting e-waste legislation. Alarmingly, only one-fifth of global e-waste is being recycled, despite having an estimated value of recoverable materials, such as gold, copper and platinum, of $55bn. Remember, only 20 percent of the e-waste accumulated in 2016 was recycled.

"E-waste management is an urgent issue in today's digitally dependent world, where the use of electronic devices is ever increasing", ITU chief Houlin Zhao said in a statement. Africa, meanwhile, generates 1.9kg per inhabitant, but there is hardly any information on collection rates.

"The formal e-waste recycling sector in India is now being developed in major cities".

The report comes as the holiday season fast approaches.

"The world's e-waste problem continues to grow". This is good news, especially as electronic and electrical devices are seeing falling prices globally, allowing, even more, people to afford them.

"Finding the proper solutions for e-waste management is a measure of our ability to utilise the technological advances to stimulate a waste-less future and to make a circular economy a reality for this complex waste stream that contains valuable resources". "National data should be internationally comparable, frequently updated, published, and interpreted", said Jakob Rhyner, Vice-Rector of UNU. This has led to around 34.1 million metric tonnes of the total waste categorised as "simply unknown".