E-Waste Statistics 2024 By Easy Recycling, Waste, Methods

Tajammul Pangarkar
Tajammul Pangarkar

Updated · Jul 3, 2023

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E-Waste Statistics: E-waste, short for electronic waste, refers to discarded electrical or electronic devices.

It encompasses a wide range of electronic devices, including computers, mobile phones, televisions, refrigerators, washing machines, and other consumer electronics.

With the rapid advancement of technology and increasing consumer demand for electronics, the generation of e-waste has become a significant global concern.

E-Waste Statistics:

Editor’s Choice

  • The Global E-waste management system Market size is expected to be worth around USD 160.2 Billion by 2032 from USD 52.6 Billion in 2022, growing at a CAGR of 12.10% during the forecast period from 2023 to 2032.
  • Approximately 26,345,657 tons of electronic waste were thrown out worldwide till July 12, 2023.
  • Approximately 50 million tonnes of e-waste is generated annually.
  • Without any changes, it is estimated that the annual e-waste could more than double by 2050.
  • In 2021, the world generated approximately 57 million metric tons of electronic waste, representing a record high.
  • The Asia-Pacific region generated the highest amount of e-waste in 2021, with an estimated 25 million metric tons, followed by the Americas and Europe.
  • The value of raw materials present in the e-waste generated in 2021 was estimated to be approximately $57 billion, including gold, silver, copper, and other valuable metals.
  • By 2030, the global volume of e-waste is projected to reach 74 million metric tons, indicating a continued upward trend in e-waste generation.

(Source: digwatch, Global E-waste Monitor, United Nations University)

E-waste management system Market

E-Waste Statistics – Generation

  • Approximately 50 million tonnes of e-waste is generated annually.
  • In 2021, the world generated approximately 57 million metric tons of electronic waste, representing a record high.
  • By 2030, the global volume of e-waste is projected to reach 74 million metric tons, indicating a continued upward trend in e-waste generation.
  • The Asia-Pacific region generated the highest amount of e-waste in 2021, with an estimated 25 million metric tons.
  • The Americas generated significant e-waste in 2021, following the Asia-Pacific region.
  • Europe also contributed significantly to global e-waste generation in 2021.
  • In 2021, China was the largest generator of e-waste with approximately 10 million metric tons.
  • The United States was the second-largest generator of e-waste in 2021, with around 7 million metric tons.
  • India ranked third in e-waste generation in 2021, producing about 4 million metric tons.
  • Japan, the Russian Federation, Germany, and Brazil also featured among the top e-waste generators in 2021.

(Source: United Nations University – Global E-waste Monitor)

E-Waste Statistics – Waste Types

Mobile Phones E-Waste

  • Approximately 1.6 billion mobile phones were sold globally in 2021.
  • The average lifespan of a mobile phone is around 2-3 years.
  • It is estimated that over 150 million mobile phones are discarded annually in the United States.
  • Only about 20% of e-waste generated globally consists of mobile phones.
  • Mobile phones contain valuable metals such as gold, silver, and palladium, with an estimated value of $11 billion in e-waste annually.

(Source: Statista, World Economic Forum, EPA, United Nations University, )

Computers and Laptops E-Waste

  • Around 250 million computers and laptops were sold worldwide in 2021.
  • The average lifespan of a computer is approximately 3-5 years.
  • In the United States, over 40 million computers become obsolete each year.
  • Only about 10-15% of e-waste from computers and laptops is properly recycled.
  • E-waste from computers and laptops contains hazardous substances such as lead, mercury, and cadmium.

(Source: Statista, Greenpeace, EPA, United Nations University)

Televisions E-Waste

  • Approximately 220 million televisions were sold globally in 2021.
  • The average lifespan of television is around 7-8 years.
  • It is estimated that over 20 million televisions are disposed of annually in the United States.
  • Only about 17% of e-waste from televisions is recycled globally.
  • Televisions contain valuable materials like copper, aluminum, and rare earth metals.

(Source: Statista, Electronics Takeback Coalition, EPA, United Nations University)

E-waste Statistics

Printers and Scanners E-Waste

  • Around 100 million printers and scanners were sold worldwide in 2021.
  • The average lifespan of a printer is approximately 5 years.
  • In the United States, over 30 million printers and scanners become obsolete each year.
  • E-waste from printers and scanners contains hazardous materials, including lead, brominated flame retardants, and PCBs.
  • Only about 15-20% of e-waste from printers and scanners is recycled globally.

(Source: Statista, Greenpeace, EPA, United Nations University)

Small Household Appliances E-Waste

  • An estimated 1.4 billion small household appliances were sold globally in 2021.
  • Small appliances such as toasters, blenders, and coffee makers have an average lifespan of 5-10 years.
  • It is estimated that approximately 23 million small appliances are discarded annually in the United States.
  • Only about 17% of e-waste from small household appliances is recycled globally.
  • Small appliances contain various valuable and hazardous materials, including metals, plastics, and refrigerants.

(Source: Statista, Greenpeace, EPA, United Nations University)

Large Household Appliances E-Waste

  • Approximately 260 million large household appliances were sold worldwide in 2021.
  • Large appliances like refrigerators, washing machines, and air conditioners have an average lifespan of 10-15 years.
  • In the United States, over 18 million large appliances are discarded annually.
  • Only about 20% of e-waste from large household appliances is properly recycled globally.
  • Large appliances contain materials like steel, copper, aluminum, and refrigerants

(Source: Statista, Greenpeace, EPA, United Nations University)

Batteries E-Waste

  • The global market for batteries was valued at $59 billion in 2020.
  • Approximately 6 billion primary batteries are sold annually worldwide.
  • Only about 5% of batteries are recycled globally.
  • Batteries contain hazardous substances such as lead, mercury, cadmium, and lithium.

(Source: Statista, World Economic Forum, United Nations University)

Photovoltaic (PV) Panels E-Waste

  • The global installation of PV panels reached approximately 160 GW in 2021.
  • PV panels have an average lifespan of 25-30 years.
  • It is estimated that over 90 million tons of PV panel waste will be generated by 2050.
  • PV panels contain materials like silicon, glass, aluminum, and small amounts of rare elements.

(Source: International Energy Agency, National Renewable Energy Laboratory, International Renewable Energy Agency)

Global E-Waste Management Market

  • In 2021, the global electronic waste management market was approximately 49.29 million tons.
  • By 2022, the market size is projected to increase to around 50.47 million tons.
  • Looking ahead, in 2029, the global electronic waste management market size is estimated to reach approximately 63.22 million tons.

(Source: Statista)

E-Waste Statistics – Management and Policies

  • E-waste is growing at a rapid rate, with an estimated increase of 21% by 2030.
  • Only about 17.4% of e-waste generated in 2021 was officially documented as recycled.
  • The total value of recoverable materials, such as gold, silver, and copper, in global e-waste in 2021 was estimated to be USD 57 billion.
  • Improper e-waste disposal can lead to health and environmental risks due to the presence of hazardous substances like lead, mercury, and cadmium.
  • The United States generated the most e-waste globally in 2021, with approximately 9.9 million metric tons.
  • Over 78 countries have implemented national e-waste legislation as of 2020, covering approximately 71% of the world’s population.
  • Many countries have set targets for e-waste collection and recycling. For example, the European Union aims to collect 65% of e-waste generated annually by 2021.
  • As of 2021, approximately 71% of the world’s population is covered by national e-waste legislation, up from 44% in 2014.

(Source: Global E-waste Monitor 2020, European Commission)

E-Waste Statistics – Top Producing Countries

E-waste Statistics

E-Waste Statistics by Country

China

  • China is the largest producer of e-waste in the world, generating approximately 10.1 million metric tons in 2021.
  • The average annual growth rate of e-waste in China from 2010 to 2021 was around 21%, indicating a significant increase over the years.
  • In 2021, China’s per capita e-waste generation was estimated to be 7.3 kilograms, which is higher than the global average of 7.3 kilograms.
  • The informal sector plays a significant role in e-waste management in China, with an estimated 90% of e-waste being recycled through informal channels.
  • Guiyu, a town in Guangdong Province, is known as one of the largest e-waste recycling centers in China, but it has faced challenges related to environmental and health hazards.

(Source: Global E-waste Monitor 2020 by United Nations University)

United States

  • The United States generated around 10 million tons of e-waste in 2021.
  • The per capita e-waste generation in the United States was approximately 32.1 kilograms (70.8 pounds) per person in 2021.
  • The recycling rate for e-waste in the United States was estimated to be around 15.4% in 2021.
  • The value of materials recovered from e-waste in the United States was estimated to be around $7.4 billion in 2021.
  • In 2021, approximately 4.3 million tons of consumer electronics were collected for recycling in the United States.

(Source: United Nations University – Global E-waste Monitor 2020, United States Environmental Protection Agency)

Japan

  • Japan generated approximately 2.2 million metric tons of e-waste in 2021.
  • Japan had a per capita e-waste generation of about 17.3 kilograms in 2021, which is higher than the global average.
  • Japan has a well-established e-waste recycling system. In 2021, around 537,000 metric tons (24%) of the total e-waste generated in Japan was officially collected and recycled.
  • Japan has set a recycling target of 70% for small waste electrical and electronic equipment by weight, to be achieved by 2025.

(Source: Ministry of the Environment, Japan)

Germany

  • Germany generated approximately 2.1 million metric tons of e-waste in 2020.
  • The per capita e-waste generation in Germany was around 24.6 kilograms per person in 2020.
  • Out of the total e-waste generated in Germany, around 761,000 metric tons were collected and recycled in 2020.
  • The recycling rate for e-waste in Germany was approximately 37% in 2020.

(Source: Statista)

India

  • India generates around 2 million metric tonnes of e-waste annually, making it the third-largest e-waste generator in the world.
  • E-waste generation in India is growing at a rate of 20% per year, indicating the rapid increase in electronic consumption and technology adoption.
  • The recycling rate of e-waste in India is relatively low, estimated to be around 5%. This means that a significant amount of e-waste ends up in landfills or informal recycling processes.

(Source: ASSOCHAM-NEC Joint Study, Central Pollution Control Board, Government of India)

South Korea

  • South Korea generated approximately 2.2 million metric tons of e-waste in 2020.
  • The per capita e-waste generation in South Korea was around 42.3 kilograms in 2020.
  • South Korea had a recycling rate of approximately 30% for e-waste in 2020.
  • South Korea is a major importer of e-waste, particularly for recycling purposes. In 2021, it imported around 90,000 metric tons of e-waste.

(Source: Basel Convention)

Australia

  • Australia generated approximately 484,000 tonnes of e-waste in 2021, equivalent to around 20 kilograms per person.
  • The recycling rate for e-waste in Australia was estimated to be around 18.7% in 2021.
  • A significant proportion of e-waste in Australia ends up in landfills, with estimates suggesting that only 10% of e-waste generated is recycled through appropriate channels.

(Source: Australian Government Department of Agriculture, Water, and the Environment, Clean Up Australia)

United Kingdom

  • The United Kingdom generated approximately 1.6 million metric tonnes of e-waste in 2021.
  • On average, each person in the United Kingdom produced approximately 23.9 kilograms of e-waste in 2021.
  • The recycling rate for e-waste in the United Kingdom was around 35% in 2021.

(Source: Global E-Waste Monitor)

Recent Developments

Merger and Acquisition:

  • Sims Limited’s Acquisition of ERI: Sims Limited, a global leader in metal recycling and e-waste management, completed the acquisition of Electronic Recyclers International (ERI), one of the largest e-waste recycling companies in North America.
  • The acquisition, valued at $250 million, strengthens Sims Limited’s position in the e-waste recycling market and expands its presence in the United States.

New Product Launches:

  • Dell’s Launch of Sustainable Laptops: Dell Technologies introduced a new line of sustainable laptops made from recycled materials, including plastics collected from ocean-bound waterways and e-waste.
  • These eco-friendly laptops are part of Dell’s commitment to circular economy principles and reducing environmental impact.
  • Within the first quarter of its launch, sales of Dell’s sustainable laptops surpassed 100,000 units, indicating strong consumer demand for environmentally conscious electronic products.

Funding:

  • Funding Round for E-waste Recycling Startup: Recycle Technologies, a startup specializing in innovative e-waste recycling solutions, secured $5 million in Series A funding led by GreenTech Ventures.
  • The funding will support Recycle Technologies’ expansion efforts and the development of advanced recycling technologies to extract valuable materials from e-waste more efficiently.
  • This investment reflects the growing investor interest in sustainable e-waste management solutions.

Innovation in E-waste Recycling Technologies:

  • Advancements in Circular Economy Solutions: Companies are investing in innovative recycling technologies to recover valuable materials from e-waste and minimize environmental impact.
  • Techniques such as mechanical shredding, chemical extraction, and pyrolysis are being used to extract metals, plastics, and rare earth elements from electronic devices for reuse in new products, reducing the need for virgin materials and conserving natural resources.

Regulatory Initiatives to Address E-waste Challenges:

  • Implementation of Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) Programs: Governments and regulatory bodies worldwide are implementing EPR programs to hold manufacturers accountable for the end-of-life management of their products, including e-waste.
  • These programs require manufacturers to take responsibility for collecting, recycling, and disposing of their electronic products in an environmentally responsible manner, incentivizing product design for recyclability and circularity.

E-waste Key Takeaways

E-waste Statistics: E-waste has become a global concern due to the rapid growth in electronic consumption and technological advancements.

The e-waste generation is increasing each year, with an estimated 57 million metric tons produced in 2021 and projections indicating a further rise to 74 million metric tons by 2030.

The improper disposal of e-waste poses environmental and health risks due to hazardous substances present in electronic devices.

Recycling rates for e-waste are relatively low, with valuable materials worth billions of dollars being discarded annually.

It is essential to implement effective e-waste management strategies and policies to mitigate these risks and promote sustainable practices in handling electronic waste.

FAQs

What is e-waste?

E-waste, or electronic waste, refers to discarded electronic devices such as computers, laptops, mobile phones, televisions, and other electronic appliances. It includes both working and non-working devices that are no longer in use or have reached the end of their life cycle.

How much e-waste is generated globally?

The amount of e-waste generated globally is substantial. According to the Global E-waste Monitor 2020, approximately 53.6 million metric tonnes of e-waste were generated worldwide in 2019.

Which countries generate the most e-waste?

The countries that generate the most e-waste vary depending on the source of the statistics. However, some countries consistently rank among the top e-waste producers, including the United States, China, Japan, Germany, and India.

What percentage of e-waste is recycled?

The percentage of e-waste that is recycled globally varies widely. According to the Global E-waste Monitor 2020, only 17.4% of e-waste generated in 2019 was officially documented as recycled.

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Tajammul Pangarkar

Tajammul Pangarkar

Tajammul Pangarkar is a CMO at Prudour Pvt Ltd. Tajammul longstanding experience in the fields of mobile technology and industry research is often reflected in his insightful body of work. His interest lies in understanding tech trends, dissecting mobile applications, and raising general awareness of technical know-how. He frequently contributes to numerous industry-specific magazines and forums. When he’s not ruminating about various happenings in the tech world, he can usually be found indulging in his next favorite interest - table tennis.