UN report states e-waste set to rise to ‘82m tonnes by 2030’

The United Nations (UN) has released its Global E-waste Monitor (GEM), revealing that the world’s generation of electronic waste is rising “five times faster” than what is reportedly being recycled.

In what appears to be a historic milestone, the production of e-waste soared to a staggering 62 million tonnes in 2022, marking an 82% increase from 2010. Alarmingly, this figure is projected to surge by an additional 32% to reach 82 million tonnes by 2030, according to a joint report from the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) and United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR).

Regrettably, the report highlights that less than a quarter of the total e-waste generated in 2022 was properly collected and recycled, exacerbating environmental and health risks on a global scale.

The UN underscores the gravity of the situation, emphasizing that any discarded electronic product containing a plug or battery poses significant health and environmental hazards due to toxic additives or hazardous substances like mercury, which can impair human brain function and coordination.

Numerous challenges compound the issue, including rapid technological advancements, increased consumption, limited repair options, shorter product life cycles, the pervasive electronification of society, design deficiencies, and inadequate e-waste management infrastructure.

However, the UN remains optimistic, asserting that if countries can elevate e-waste collection and recycling rates to 60% by 2030, the benefits would far outweigh the costs by over 30 billion pounds.

Kees Baldé, lead author at UNITAR, underscores the urgency for action, emphasizing that the current status quo is unsustainable. He calls for increased investment in infrastructure development, greater promotion of repair and reuse practices, capacity building initiatives, and measures to combat illegal e-waste shipments, all of which he believes would yield significant returns on investment.

Cosmas Luckyson Zavazava, director of the ITU Telecommunication Development Bureau, echoes the sentiment, emphasizing the imperative for robust regulations to bolster e-waste collection and recycling efforts, especially considering that less than half of the world currently implements and enforces effective approaches to address the issue.

source: https://www.letsrecycle.com/news/un-report-states-e-waste-set-to-rise-to-82m-tonnes-by-2030/