UN: E-waste is increasing five times faster than its recycling

According to the United Nations’ fourth Global E-Waste Monitor (GEM), global e-waste generation is increasing five times faster than documented e-waste recycling.

The ITU and UNITAR report highlights that the 62 million tons of e-waste generated in 2022 would fill 1.55 million 40-ton trucks, enough to form a continuous line around the equator.

The 62 million tons of e-waste generated in 2022 would fill 1.55 million 40-ton trucks, enough to form a continuous line around the equator

Meanwhile, it has been documented that in 2022, less than a quarter (22.3%) of annual e-waste mass was properly collected and recycled, leaving $62 billion worth of recoverable natural resources unaccounted for increases the risk of contamination Worldwide.

The global volume of e-waste is increasing by 2.6 million tons annually and is expected to reach 82 million tons in 2030, a further increase of 33% compared to the 2022 value.

Danger to health and the environment

electronic waste, Any product discarded with a plug or batterypose a threat to health and the environment because they contain toxic additives or dangerous substances such as mercury, which can damage the human brain and coordination system, the document warns.

“Out of TV until Cell phonesHuge amounts of electronic waste are generated worldwide. The latest research shows that the global challenge posed by this waste will only grow. “The fact that less than half of the world’s population is implementing and enforcing approaches to address the problem gives rise to strong regulation to increase collection and recycling,” he says. Cosmas Luckyson ZavazavaDirector of the ITU Telecommunication Development Office

The UN predicts a decline in collection and recycling from 22.3% in 2022 to 20% in 2030 due to the growing gap between recycling and the growth of this waste

According to this official, “The Global Electronic Waste Monitor is the world’s most important source of data on this type of waste, enabling monitoring and making critical decisions about it.” Transition to a circular economy for electronics“.

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The report predicts a decline in documented collection and recycling rates from 22.3% in 2022 to 20% in 2030, due to the growing gap between recycling efforts and the rapid growth of e-waste generation worldwide.

Short life cycles and “electronization”

Challenges contributing to the widening gap include technological advancement, increased consumption, limited repair options, shorter product life cycles, increasing electronicization of society, design deficiencies, etc inadequate infrastructure for electronic waste disposal.

According to the document, if countries achieved a 60% collection and recycling rate of this waste by 2030, the benefits – including minimizing risks to human health – would exceed the costs by more than $38 billion.

The report calls for promoting repair and reuse and stopping illegal shipments of e-waste

Dependence on rare earths

Furthermore, it says that the world remains “staggeringly dependent” on a few countries for rare earths, despite their unique properties, which are crucial for future technologies such as renewable energy production and electromobility.

In this sense, Kees BaldeUNITAR researcher and lead author of the report: “no more than 1% The need for vital rare earth elements is met by recycling electronic waste. “This new study represents an immediate call for greater investment in infrastructure development, greater promotion of repair and reuse, capacity building and measures to stop illegal e-waste shipments. And the investment would more than pay for itself,” he concludes.

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