A Deeper Dive Part-2

Now we have learned about the fundamental facts regarding selling/ disposal and the examples of e-waste. Lets make a move on.

The essential items in the e-waste

Scraps such as CPUs have toxic materials like lead, cadmium, etc. A tonne of discarded mobile phones is richer in gold than a tonne of gold ore," Dr. Ruediger Kuehr, director of the UN's Sustainable Cycles (SCYCLE) Programme, said in a statement. "Embedded in 1 million cell phones, for example, are 24 kg of gold, 16,000 kg of copper, 350 kg of silver, and 14 kg of palladium — resources that could be recovered and returned to the production cycle. And if we fail to recycle these materials, new supplies need to be mined, harming the environment. Recycling this e-waste may cause severe health problems to the workers involved in the process.


Data in the recent years

E-waste is considered the "fastest-growing waste stream in the world" with 44.7 million tonnes generated in 2016- equivalent to 4500 Eiffel towers. In 2018, an estimated 50 million tonnes of e-waste was reported, thus the name ‘tsunami of e-waste’ was given by the UN. Its value is at least $62.5 billion annually. An estimated 50 million tons of e-waste are produced each year. The USA discards 30 million computers each year and 100 million phones are disposed of in Europe each year. The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that only 15–20% of e-waste is recycled, the rest of these electronics go directly into landfills and incinerators.

In the year 2021, approximately 57 million tonnes of e-waste was discarded. Considering the possibility that this may outweigh the great wall of China. WEEE Forum Director-General Pascal Leroy quoted that it was more important to discuss global action to reduce carbon emissions. As a matter of fact, every tonne of e-waste recycled saves 2 tonnes of CO2 emissions. In 2019, humans generated 53.6 million tonnes (approximately 59.1 million tons), up 21 percent from 2014. If nothing changes, that number is supposed to hit 74 million tonnes (approximately 81.6 million tons) by 2030, meaning that e-waste is growing by about three to four percent every year. "Fast mobile phone development, for example, has led to a market dependency on rapid replacement of older devices," reported BBC in an interview with Leroy.

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