A first-of-its-kind map shows that the volume of end-of-life electronics worldwide is expected to jump by more than 30 per cent to 65.4 million tonnes annually by 2017. That is the weight equivalent of 11 Great Pyramids of Giza.
By 2017, all of that year’s end-of-life refrigerators, TVs, mobile phones, computers, monitors, e-toys and other products with a battery or electrical cord worldwide could fill a line of 40-tonne trucks end-to-end on a highway straddling three quarters of the Equator. That startling forecast, based on data compiled by “Solving the E-Waste Problem (StEP) Initiative” — a partnership of UN organisations, industry, governments, non-government and science organizations— represents a global jump of 33 per cent in just five years.
The escalating global e-waste problem is graphically portrayed in a first-of-its-kind StEP E-Waste World Map. The interactive map resource, presenting data from 184 countries, shows the estimated amount of electrical and electronic equipment (EEE — anything with a battery or a cord) put on the market and how much resulting e-waste is eventually generated (i.e. comes out of use or post-use storage destined for collection by a recycling company or disposal).
The map shows, for example, that almost 48.9 million metric tonnes of used electrical and electronic products was produced last year — an average of 7 kg for each of the world’s 7 billion people. And the flood of e-waste is growing. Based on current trends, StEP experts predict that, by 2017, the total annual volume will be 33 per cent higher at 65.4 million tonnes, the weight equivalent of almost 200 Empire State Buildings or 11 Great Pyramids of Giza.
The StEP e-waste world map database shows that in 2012 China and the United States topped the world’s totals in market volume of EEE and e-waste. China put the highest volume of EEE on the market in 2012 – 11.1 million tonnes, followed by the US at 10 million tonnes.
The map is available online.