Global e-waste statistics:
Global e-waste is expected to increase by almost 17% to 52.2 million tonnes in 2021 (Source). The statistics documented by the United Nations University shows that only 20% of e-waste is collected and recycled while the other 80% is unaccounted for, they may be dumped, illegally traded or recycled under uncontrolled conditions. (Source)
Australia e-waste statistics:
Australians are high consumers of technology and one of the highest producers of e-waste in the world. Within Australia, only 500,000 computers are being recycled compared to the 1.6 million computers that are thrown away. Around 5.3 million computers are unused in office storage facilities. Alongside this, Australians collectively purchase 2.4 million new computers each year, further contributing to the accumulation of ewaste. (Source)
E-waste is growing at an alarming rate in Australia. Just in terms of specific products, around 10% of laptops and computers are recycled while other outdated electronic products have only increased the amount of ewaste entering the waste stream. (Source) It is estimated that Australia’s e-waste will increase by more than 60% , which would be around 223,000 tonnes by the year 2024. (Source) Australia is lagging behind to cope with the growth of electronic waste.
The composition of E-waste varies greatly, while it can contain valuable metals such as gold, indium, and palladium, on the flip side it can also be comprised of hazardous metals such as lead, arsenic and mercury. Disposing of e-waste in a landfill is not just a threat to the environment but can also be a significant waste of valuable resources. If disposed of properly, the recyclable components can be recovered for reuse and hazardous materials can be treated appropriately.
Companies should ensure that their e-waste is disposed of through a responsible recycling center. If e-waste is handled properly, 90% to 95% of its components can be recycled, which can greatly benefit our environment. (Source)