What percentage of waste is electronic waste?

Which countries generate the most e-waste

If we look at behavior by continent, the undisputed leader by volume is Asia. Its population of 4.463 billion people generates 46% of total e-waste. It is followed almost on a par with the Americas (13.1 Mt) and Europe (12 Mt), while Africa and Oceania generate considerably less with 2.9 Mt and 0.7 Mt respectively.

On the other hand, in per capita terms, Europeans generate the most e-waste with 16.2 kg per person. This is closely followed by residents of Oceania and the Americas with 16.1 kg and 13.3 kg, respectively. At a greater distance behind are Asians and Africans with 5.6 kg and 2.5 kg, respectively.

The Global E-Waste Monitor is a collaborative effort between the Sustainable Cycles for Life (SCYCLE) Program, currently co-sponsored by the United Nations University (UNU), and the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR), the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) and the International Solid Waste Association (ISWA).

Countries receiving electronic waste

“Unfortunately, due to the absence of the WEEE management law, most of the waste remains stagnant in homes or ends up in landfills. This is a worrying situation, since the management of these wastes is complex, they are hazardous wastes, and cannot be developed by any entity in a formal or informal way. That is why we need to have a law that regulates its correct management,” he insists.

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It is estimated that around 75% of the country’s old electronic devices are in storage, due to the uncertainty of how to dispose of these materials. While the future of the law being promoted by Greenpeace is being decided, it is important to know that many of these products can be reused, restored or recycled.

Te Reciclo is an initiative of a group of professionals who, since 2001, have been recovering electronic products at home and picking up those they find lying on the street. They then repair them and sell them at a very low cost. “We began to see more and more often, both in the streets and in the garbage garbage cans, a lot of technological garbage. This situation led us to come up with the idea of launching this activity. In particular, we emphasize that we carry out door-to-door collections because companies and individuals do not want to be moving this equipment from one place to another”, explains Juan Martín Ravettini, one of the members who carry out this project.

How much electronic waste is generated in the world

In our country only 3.4% of electronic waste is recycled. Alejandra Velasco, legal director of Círculo Rep, warned about the few projects that currently exist to encourage the reuse of materials from technological devices.

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Due to the advance of technologies and the digitalization of life, devices are becoming obsolete faster and faster, thus generating the need to renew them from time to time, but without taking into account that the waste generated from technological products is highly toxic and polluting.

A study carried out by the Ministry of the Environment revealed that only 3.4% of the waste from technical and technological devices is recycled, equivalent to 320 grams per inhabitant, with companies generating the most electronic waste. To address this problem and manage the treatment of this type of waste, priority products were established in the Extended Producer Responsibility Law (REP).

E-waste in the world

David Malone rector of UNU and deputy secretary-general of the United Nations (UN) who also manages the report, expressed in a statement that “substantially greater efforts are urgently needed to ensure that the global production, consumption and disposal of electronic and electrical equipment is smarter and more sustainable.”

The report revealed that the category of e-waste that has increased the most since 2014 is air conditioners, refrigerators and the like, with a 7% increase. An estimated 98 million tons of carbon dioxide equivalent were emitted into the atmosphere in 2019 from refrigerators and air conditioners thrown in the trash, which accounted for 0.3 % of global greenhouse gas emissions.

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The Ministry of the Environment is currently working on the preliminary draft of the regulation of this type of waste, considered a priority in the Framework Law for Waste Management and Extended Producer Responsibility (REP). “It is intended that the producing companies take charge of electronic waste. It is important to know the diagnoses that they may be carrying out where they specify which wastes are going to be regulated”, says Reyes.