Less than 16% of global e-waste recycled or reused, finds report

The amount of global discarded electrical and electronic equipment reached 41.8 million tonnes in 2014 with less than one-sixth is thought to have been properly recycled or made available for reuse...

Recycling

The amount of global discarded electrical and electronic equipment reached 41.8 million tonnes in 2014 with less than one-sixth thought to have been properly recycled or made available for reuse.

A new United Nations University (UNU) report - The Global E-waste Monitor 2014: Quantities, Flows and Resources – showed that the bulk of global e-waste in 2014 (almost 60%) was discarded kitchen, laundry, and bathroom equipment.

Personal information and communication technology (ICT) devices — such as mobile phones, personal computers, and printers — accounted for 7% of e-waste last year.

More specifically, e-waste in 2014 comprised:

· 12.8 million tonnes of small equipment (such as vacuum cleaners, microwaves, toasters, electric shavers and video cameras)

· 11.8 million tonnes of large equipment (including washing machines, clothes dryers, dishwashers, electric stoves, and photovoltaic panels)

· 7.0 million tonnes of temperature-exchange (cooling and freezing equipment)

· 6.3 million tonnes of screens

· 3.0 million tonnes of small ICT equipment

· 1.0 million tonne of lamps.

This e-waste represented some US$52 billion of potentially reusable resources. The UNU report estimates that the e-waste discarded in 2014 contained an some 16,500 kilotons of iron, 1,900 kilotons of copper, and 300 tonnes of gold as well as significant amounts of silver, aluminium, palladium.

According to the report, just two countries — the US and China — discarded nearly one-third of the world’s total e-waste in 2014.

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