More than 50 million metric tons of e-waste is generated every year and only a small amount is handled in a safe way. This leads to pollution, human health hazards and the loss of valuable finite resources. For a more sustainable life cycle, products and materials must be recovered and reused to a much larger extent.

Today’s unsustainable handling of e-waste leads to pollution, health hazards and the loss of valuable natural resources, such as copper, gold and rare earth metals. According to the United Nations University, electronic waste is the fastest growing waste stream in the world, with more than 50 million metric tons generated every year. It is estimated that only 20 percent of the waste is handled in a proper way. The rest is unaccounted for and risk being incinerated, placed on scrap heaps, or illegally exported to developing countries, often to destinations lacking effective legislation that regulates how e-waste should be managed. In these countries, products are manually disassembled, burned in the open air or dissolved in acid by local laborers including children, without adequate protective equipment — leading to severe health problems.