WEEE increasing around the world, uncovers UN report

A UN report has uncovered that the amount of WEEE being generated across the globe is increasing. Bamboo Distribution takes a look at what exactly was disclosed in the annual Global E-waste Monitor Report.

In 2014 the amount of WEEE being generated throughout the world reached approximately 41.8 tonnes. Research published by the UK suggests that this figure will reach the 50 million tonne mark by 2020.

The Global E-Waste Monitor report was published by the academic research arm of the UN, the United Nations University. The research found that the amount of waste deriving from electronic and electrical equipment is expected to reach 50 million tonnes and will experience a 21% increase by 2018.

High value waste

Consisting of copper, gold and plastic, the value of the electrical and electronic equipment across the globe in 2014 is likely to have been close to £34.5 billion, the report disclosed.

As well as having a high value the report also noted that the majority of WEEE discarded from households comprises of electronic equipment from kitchens and laundry rooms, such as washing machines, microwaves and dishwashers.
This compares to just 7% of e-waste in the same year being generated by smaller gadgets such as mobile phones, personal computers, printers and other information technology equipment.

Countries that generate most WEEE

The Global E-Waste Monitor researched which counties generated the highest amounts of e-waste. It found that the UK was amongst the five top ranking nations in terms of ‘per capita’ producers of WEEE. Switzerland, Denmark, Norway and Iceland ranked alongside Britain in generating the most e-waste per capita.

The escalating amount of electronic and electrical waste gathering around the world is driven, according to the UN, by shortening life-cycles of gadgets and equipment and the rising sales of electronic devices.

A ‘toxic mine’

UN Under Secretary General David Malone, referred to the escalating e-waste as a ‘toxic mine’. He commented on the report:

“Worldwide e-waste constitutes a valuable ‘urban mine’ a large potential reservoir of recyclable materials. At the same time, the hazardous content of e-waste constitutes a ‘toxic mine’ that must be managed with extreme care.’
Malone continued that the UN’s e-waste report provides a “baseline” for policymakers and the recycling industry to plan take-back systems, which will ultimately help improve resource efficiency whilst “reducing the environmental and health impacts of e-waste.”

Bamboo Distribution is an international leader in the recovery, recycling and refurbishment of electronic devices. Bamboo Distribution provides a comprehensive take back system that comprises of an ‘end to end’ service. The service includes collecting the product and selling the product into a new market, thus adhering to the UN’s global e-waste report’s aim to improve resource efficiency while reducing the environment and health impacts of WEEE.

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