Our insatiable demand for electronic devices is creating the worlds fastest-growing waste stream.

August 27, 2019

Our insatiable demand for electronic devices is creating the world’s fastest-growing waste stream. Some forms are growing exponentially. The United Nations calls it a tsunami of e-waste. Last year electronic and electrical waste reached 50 million tonnes, more than the weight of all commercial airliners ever made.⁣⠀
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It’s about 55 times as heavy as The Golden Gate Bridge, 150 times as heavy as the Empire State Building and about 450,000 times as heavy as a Blue Whale!⁣⠀
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While more electronic devices are part of the problem, they can also be a part of the solution. A more digital and connected world can help us accelerate progress toward the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). We must employ a more circular vision in this sector. That’s why tackling this issue head-on is now seen as a crucial task for a number of global agencies in the E-waste Coalition. ⁣⠀
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Member states, for instance, recently set a target to increase the global e-waste recycling rate to 30% (and really, it should be much higher). It is about changing the direction of ‘take, make and dispose’ to the circular economy we want to see in the future. Innovative business and reverse supply chain models, circular designs, safety for e-waste collectors and ways of formalizing and empowering informal e-waste workers are all part of the picture. We all have a huge part to play here as e-waste is very much consumer based and electronics often massively exploitative. While system change is needed, on a personal level we can also take far better care of our devices, absolutely don’t buy new models regularly and fight for right to repair laws.
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Source: World Economic Forum