Up to 90% of the world’s electronic waste is illegally traded or dumped each year, according to the UN Environment Programme (Unep). “An unprecedented tsunami of electronic waste” said Achim Steiner, UN Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director of Unep.
A 41m tonne e-waste mountain which could top 50m tonnes by 2017. The UN university report estimates that the e-waste discarded in 2014 contained iron, copper, gold, silver, aluminum, palladium, and other potentially reusable resources, with a combined estimated value of US$52 billion.
The bulk of global e-waste in 2014 (almost 60%) was discarded kitchen, laundry, and bathroom equipment. Personal information and communication technology (ICT) devices — such as mobile phones, personal computers, and printers accounted for 7% of e-waste last year.
Even if exporting hazardous waste from EU and Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Member States to non-OECD countries is banned, thousands of tonnes of e-waste are falsely declared as second-hand goods and exported from developed to developing countries (Ghana, Nigeria, China, Pakistan, India, and Vietnam are turning into illegal e-waste hubs, bypassing the legitimate global waste).