Web portal unveiled to help address global e-waste problem

The Global E-waste Statistics Partnership has launched globalewaste.org, an open source portal that visualizes e-waste data and statistics globally, by region and by country, for policy-makers, industry, academia, and the public.

Discarded equipment, such as phones, laptops, fridges, sensors and TVs are referred to as e-waste. E-waste contains substances that pose considerable environmental and health risks, especially if treated inadequately.

On the other hand, e-waste presents an opportunity worth over $62.5 billion per year if treated through appropriate recycling chains and methods, with the potential of creating millions of decent new jobs worldwide.

On globalewaste.org, users can access e-waste data from global and regional e-waste monitors for most countries on Earth. Data include: the amount of e-waste generated in total and per capita and discarded prior to any collection, reuse, treatment, or export; the amount of e-waste formally collected in total and per capita and regulated by environmental protection laws specifically designed for e-waste; and e-waste legislation by country, where applicable.

“Reliable and official data and statistics on e-waste provide the foundation for sound e-waste legislation and management at the national level,” said Houlin Zhao, secretary-general of the International Telecommunications Union.

“To date, 41 countries report compiling comparable national statistics on e-waste. Better e-waste data will help track progress towards global ITU e-waste targe​ts that member-states have set for 2023.”

The Global E-waste Statistics Partnership comprises ITU, the United Nations University (UNU), and the International Solid Waste Association (ISWA).

Latest estimates show that the world now discards approximately 50 million tons of e-waste per year, greater in weight than all of the commercial airliners ever made or enough Eiffel towers to fill Manhattan. Only 20% is formally recycled.

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