Fifty million metric tonnes of e-waste is generated every year, equalling the weight of nearly 4,500 Eiffel towers. Much of it is incinerated or placed in landfill, causing pollution, human health hazards and the loss of valuable finite resources.
According to the United Nations University’s Global e-waste monitor, around 50 million metric tonnes of electronic products are discarded every year. E-waste is the world’s fastest growing waste stream and the amount is estimated to increase to 52.2 million metric tonnes by 2021 unless this trend is reversed. There are several reasons for the increase. The world’s population is growing and economic prosperity reaches more people. Technological development is fast-paced and the price of IT products is dropping, leading to shorter product lifespans. Developed countries continue to contribute most to the problem, but developing countries are rapidly catching up.