WEEE around the world

Waste electronicsIt might not be a surprise to hear that the UK isn’t the only country producing millions of tonnes of e-waste or WEEE each year. In 2014 alone a staggering 41.8 tonnes of e-waste was generated worldwide – and if the figures are anything to go by this won’t be decreasing any time soon. Compared to 2010 when we produced 33.8 million tonnes to a predicted 45.7 million tonnes in 2016 you can see why it is so important that e-waste is managed.

Waste electronics are made up of a myriad of electrical objects that for whatever reason, be that end of life, technological upgrades or changing in fashions, are thrown out by domestic or business users. It can be anything from servers to mobile phones, lamps to computer screens.

Europe is the biggest e-waste producer at 16 million tonnes per year. Closely behind us Europeans are the Americans and Asians who are almost level pegging at 11.7 and 11.6 million tonnes respectively. It perhaps isn’t such a shock that Africa and Oceania are at a much lower level of e-waste production. Africa produce only 1.9 million tonnes of e-waste despite a population of 1.111 billion (taken 2013) – a continent where technology is not so rapidly advancing as in the west.

The top 5 e-waste producing countries in order of weight produced are; USA, China, Japan, India and Great Britain. Considering the difference in population size between the first and fifth position it shows that the people of the UK are producing a similar percentage of waste per capita to the United States.

Despite the term e-waste it doesn’t actually mean that the items we are throwing away are worthless. The estimated total value of the waste the world is producing amounts to about 48,000,000,000 Euros! Iron and steel are the main materials in our e-waste at 16,500 kilotonnes but plastics make up the largest material worth at 12,300 million Euros. Some of the things you might not expect to find in e-waste – did you know that 60 elements from the periodic table can be found in complex electronics? Or that roughly 300 tonnes of gold worth 10,400 million Euros is hiding in there somewhere too? No, I didn’t think so.

But before you quickly run to the local landfill to find the gold that’s hiding in ‘them there hills’ you should take a look at our website. Pure Planet Recycling are an award winning team that provide a wide range of WEEE recycling services to businesses that need help with their waste management – because it isn’t as simple as just throwing it out.

The world is now more aware than ever about the importance of managing our e-waste. The figures we’ve talked about show the immense quantities that we as a nation contribute to the 41.8 million tonnes the world produces. Talk to Pure Planet Recycling on 01234 315496 today to manage your company’s contribution responsibly. Alternatively you can see the figures mentioned in our global e-waste infographic.