United Nations University releases new report, ‘The Global E-Waste Monitor 2014’

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The United Nations University Institute for the Advanced Study of Sustainability has recently released, The Global E-Waste Monitor 2014. The report illustrates the size of the e-waste challenge, the management progress for establishing the specialized e-waste collection and treatment systems and the future outlook.

The results illustrated in the report are based on empirical data (the UN Comtrade Database) and provide an unprecedented level of detail. This information gives a more accurate overview of the magnitude of the e-waste problem in different regions.

It is estimated that the total amount e-waste generated in 2014 was 41.8 million metric tonnes (Mt). This e-waste is comprised of 1.0 Mt of lamps, 6.3 Mt of screens, 3.0 Mt of small IT (such as mobile phones, personal computers, printers, etc.), 12.8 Mt of small equipment (such as vacuum cleaners, microwaves, toasters, electric shavers, video cameras, etc.), 11.8 Mt of large equipment (such as washing machines, clothes dryers, dishwashers, electric stoves, etc.) and 7.0 Mt of cooling and freezing equipment (temperature exchange equipment).

The report indicates that small IT and telecommunication equipment (i.e., mobile phones, routers, personal computers, printers, telephones, etc.), the electronics products largely obligated by regulation in Canadian provinces, make up only 7.2% of e-waste generated worldwide. Old microwaves, washing machines, dishwashers, ovens, refrigerators, air conditioners and other household items made up the bulk of the waste generated.

Since 2004, electronics recycling programs across Canada have diverted over 500,000 metric tonnes of end-of-life electronics from landfill.

In 2013, Canadians responsibly recycled 4.2 kg per capita of end-of-life electronics products. Canada operates one of the best electronics recycling programs on the planet. Use this link to review how Canadian recycling programs compare to the rest of the world.

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