E-Waste In Asia Jumps 63 Percent In Five Years. Asian Scientists, January 17, 2017.
In just five years, Asian countries produced 12.3 million tonnes of e-waste, a weight 2.4 times that of the Great Pyramid of Giza.
AsianScientist (Jan. 17, 2017) – The volume of discarded electronics in East and Southeast Asia jumped almost two-thirds between 2010 and 2015, and e-waste generation is growing fast in both total volume and per capita measures, according to research by the United Nations (UN) University.
The average increase in e-waste across all 12 countries and areas analyzed—Cambodia, China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam—was 63 percent in the five years ending in 2015 and totalled 12.3 million tonnes, a weight 2.4 times that of the Great Pyramid of Giza.
China alone more than doubled its generation of e-waste between 2010 and 2015 to 6.7 million tonnes, up 107 percent. Using UN University’s estimation methodology, the research shows rising e-waste quantities outpacing population growth.
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The e-waste mountains – in pictures. The Guardian, October 18 2016.
Sustainable development goal target 12.5 is to reduce waste. But with a planet increasingly dependent on technology, is that even possible?
As of today, over 30m tonnes of electronic waste has been thrown out so far this year, according to the World Counts. Most e-waste is sent to landfills in Asia and Africa where it is recycled by hand, exposing the people who do it to environmental hazards. Photograph: Kai Loeffelbein/laif
Kai Loeffelbein’s photographs of e-waste recycling in Guiyu, southern China show what happens to discarded computers.
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Recycling: from e-waste to resources, July 2009. UNEP. (pdf, 2.49MB)
The appropriate handling of e-waste can both prevent serious environmental damage and also recover valuable materials, especially for metals. The recycling chain for e-waste is classified into three main subsequent steps: (i) collection, (ii) sorting/dismantling and preprocessing (including sorting, dismantling and mechanical treatment) and (iii) endprocessing.
All three steps should operate and interact in a holistic manner to achieve the overall recycling objectives. The main objectives of e-waste recycling and basic considerations for innovation are:
- Treat the hazardous fractions in an environmentally sound manner,
- Create eco-efficient and sustainable business,
- Recover valuable material maximally and
- Consider social impact and local context
Developing countries, in race out of poverty, will produce more E-Waste
UN Under-Secretary-General Achim Steiner gave a talk at an environment protection conference in Bali describing a growing problem among developing nations: e-waste. While places like China and India already have their own problems with informal e-waste recycling, the UN expects to see the same intractable problems surface in Africa and Latin America while levels of trash will double or triple in already problem-plagued countries.
What does this mean? Generally it means that entire swathes of the developing world will soon become e-waste producers and recyclers. As folks in developing counties begin buying computers, TVs, and fridges the e-waste problem is compounded by population and horrible recycling techniques and the refusal by organizations like the CEA to back forced recycling programs in already developed areas.
These countries will soon be buried in e-waste and informal recycling techniques, including dropping PCBs into heaters to release the gold and other rare metals, create massive problems for the recyclers and nearby homes. It is, in short, a mess.
Here are a few stats from the UN on this problem:
- Global e-waste generation is growing by about 40 million tons a year
- Manufacturing mobile phones and personal computers consumes 3 per cent of the gold and silver mined worldwide each year; 13 per cent of the palladium and 15 per cent of cobalt
- Modern electronics contain up to 60 different elements — many valuable, some hazardous, and some both
- Carbon dioxide emissions from the mining and production of copper and precious and rare metals used in electrical and electronic equipment are estimated at over 23 million tonnes – 0.1 percent of global emissions (not including emissions linked to steel, nickel or aluminum, nor those linked to manufacturing the devices)
- In the US, more than 150 million mobiles and pagers were sold in 2008, up from 90 million five years before
Globally, more than 1 billion mobile phones were sold in 2007, up from 896 million in 2006
- Countries like Senegal and Uganda can expect e-waste flows from PCs alone to increase 4 to 8-fold by 2020.
Given the infrastructure expense and technology skills required to create proper facilities for efficient and environmentally sound metal recovery, the report suggests facilitating exports of critical e-scrap fractions like circuit boards or btteries from smaller countries to OECD-level, certified end-processors.
Source – Crunchgear