An e-waste report from 2015 released by the United Nations University reports that global electronic waste has reached record high levels. 41.8 million metric tons of e-waste was generated in 2014, fuelling concerns about the growing risks to public health, resource conservation and the environment.
With rapidly changing technologies and constant consumer demand for the latest devices, the rise in e-waste looks set to continue. Lowering the amount of electronics entering the waste stream and improving end of life handling are essential for building a more circular economy, where waste is reduced, resources are conserved and are fed back into the supply chain for new products. Buyers also have an important role to play by choosing products that are durable, repairable, less hazardous and are designed for safer recycling.
Until now, definitions of e-waste and methods used to evaluate it have varied between regions and made calculations of total volume difficult. The Global E-Waste Monitor 2014 – Quantities, Flows and Resources, aims to present “the first comprehensive assessment of e-waste volumes, their corresponding impacts and management status on a global scale” (UN report p 8).