E-Waste Facts And Figures In 2022

Apr 07, 2022

E-Waste Facts And Figures In 2022

E-waste is becoming an increasingly common phenomenon in modern society, with a staggering amount of obsolete technology being kicked to the curb each year. Let’s take a closer look at the repercussions of this, and examine some of the more surprising e-waste facts and figures in 2022. 


What Exactly is E-Waste? 

We live in a world that is powered by the evolution of technology. With hoards of tech-fanatics eagerly awaiting the arrival of the latest and greatest iPhone, PC or Smart TV, the phrase ‘out with the old and in with the new’ has quickly become the norm. 

E-waste is, therefore, a blanket term to describe unwanted electrical equipment in any form. This can range from discarded laptops or tablets in working condition, all the way to fragmented parts of broken washing machines, video cameras and more. Even smaller items, such as GPS devices and calculators, fall into the e-waste category. 

Unfortunately, the disposal of e-waste isn’t always straightforward, and the environmental consequences of incorrect e-waste removal are huge. With only a few government e-waste collection days per year, many people throw their unwanted electronics straight in the bin - without realising just how harmful this can be. 


E-Waste and its Effect on the Environment

The harmful effects of e-waste on the environment are largely caused by poisonous toxins within the electrical equipment itself. Additionally, e-waste is far from biodegradable, meaning that any tech abandoned to landfill could remain there indefinitely. 

The damage caused by e-waste occurs via a chain reaction that begins with toxins being released into the soil and water, tainting both plants and the water supply. Consuming these impure elements can have detrimental effects on humans, animals and sea creatures. 

When e-waste is eventually incinerated, as usually happens to most items left to sit in landfill, these toxic chemicals are released into the air in the form of hydrocarbons. This contributes to a lower quality of air and exposes humans to pollutants such as arsenic and mercury that can endanger the kidneys, lungs and central nervous system. 


10 Facts About E-Waste in 2022

As a society, we are slowly becoming more educated on environmentalism, global warming and the importance of saving our planet before it is too late. 

However, even in 2022, there are a number of surprising e-waste facts and figures to suggest that the amount of technological waste in the UK is expanding rather than declining. 


  • 50 million tonnes of electronics are wasted every year. As stated by the UN Report, this altogether weighs a higher amount than all of the commercial airliners ever created. Even worse, the amount of e-waste generated is supposed to grow by between 4% and 5% every year, according to The Balance. 


  • E-waste is recycled in only one out of five cases. Only 20% of the shocking 50 million tonnes of e-waste produced per year is recycled, meaning that the rest is taken to landfill. 


  • Exposure to toxic e-waste chemicals can increase the risk of pregnancy complications. This is especially the case for the 12.9 million women working with waste on a daily basis. According to the WHO, exposure to e-waste makes it more likely that pregnant women will experience premature births, stillbirths and a low birthweight. 


  • 1.3 million tonnes of e-waste are transported from the EU to developing countries every year. This transportation, as recorded by Word Economic Forum, is undocumented and highly illegal, using a series of trans-shipment ports to stay below the radar of authorities. 


  • E-waste has contributed to the worldwide scarcity of rare metals. Allied Market Research reports that an average of 25 grams of gold and 250 kilograms of silver can be found in every one million mobile phones. If e-waste is recycled instead of disposed of, these precious metals can be reused for other purposes. 


  • Exposure to e-waste has been linked to stunted neurological development in children. The toxicity of lead exposure can cause an increase in childhood behavioural problems, as well as other issues including a higher risk of ADHD, sensory struggles, and lower language and cognitive skills. 


  • The production of electronics uses a lot of resources in itself. For instance, according to NCSL, the creation of a computer involves the use of around 1.5 tonnes of water and 530 pounds of fossil fuels. By recycling our e-waste instead of sending it to landfill, we can help to preserve these valuable, and unfortunately declining, resources. 


  • Small equipment is predicted to have one of the highest e-waste growth rates. According to UNU, the little things make all the difference. This includes a lot of items that many of us would dispose of without thinking, such as radio sets, calculators, electronic toys and kitchen appliances such as kettles and microwaves. 


  • The reduced lifespan of electronic devices is one of the biggest causes of e-waste. The electronic world is developing faster than ever before, and it is easy to get caught up in wanting the newest models. With continuous new products being launched, the average lifespan of a technological device is between three and four years and, in the case of items such as smartphones, this rate is often even lower. 


  • The amount of e-waste produced per year is worth over 47 billion pounds. The amount of gold wasted in these electronic devices - there is around 100 times more gold in a tonne of e-waste than in a tonne of gold ore, to be precise - goes beyond carelessness. 


How to Reduce E-Waste 

Luckily, there are ways that e-waste can be reduced, from both a personal perspective and on a global scale. 

More and more countries are adopting e-waste legislation, which is certainly a step in the right direction. However, that still isn’t enough to combat the sheer amount of technology that we dispose of incorrectly ourselves, and the amount that slips past laws and is disposed of in illegal means. 

First and foremost, we can each make a huge difference by purchasing more sustainable options, including refurbished technology. If you buy from a reputable source, refurbished electronics work just as good as new, are a cheaper alternative and allow you to reduce your carbon footprint.  

Finally, recycling your e-waste is a foolproof way to ensure that your technology is handled efficiently, safely and with minimal harm to the environment. 

VDR Resale is the top choice for tech owners looking to recycle their old equipment, and make money in the process. Our team will purchase and collect your unwanted technology, always offering the best price for your hardwear. 

Help us in our mission to send zero excess technology to landfill, and play a role in saving the planet today. 


Written by: Madeleine Patrick


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