E-waste statistics show a surprising development from a global perspective!
The COVID pandemic has affected life and wellbeing across the global with very few remaining free of the negative effects of the global crisis.
With forced changes to living life you would assume working for home, home school, online meetings with colleague and friends, online shopping, streaming movies, games and sports events would all increase the need for electronic gadgets in the home? Living under COVID-19 lockdowns really seemed impossible without a range or existing and new gadgets to play and work with.
With this in mind, many experts foresee a sizable increase in the consumption of electrical and electronic equipment and a simultaneous increase in disposal old electronic items, partly as a result of household clear-outs, cleaning and declutters during in the first COVID-19 lockdowns.
However, was this the case? The statistics show a surprising development from a global perspective:
Research by the United Nations University (UNU) and the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) show lower consumption of electronic and electrical equipment in the first 3 quarters of 2020.
This led to a reduction of 4.9 million metric tonnes (Mt) in the future electronic and electrical equipment waste (e-waste) generated – this is due to the COVID-19 pandemic, especially in the first and second quarter of 2020. The reductions were 30% in low- and middle-income countries and vastly different at 5% in high-income countries. (see report for details).
This inequality has a large social side effect: the population in low and middle income countries is continuously growing but access to modern communication technologies and other electronics including IT equipment is not keeping pace; this is leading to an even greater digital divide in schools, homes and workplaces.
High-income countries – mostly located in Europe, North America, Australia, and New Zealand – are the least impacted due to COVID-19. Australia and New Zealand even show a boost in consumption in the first three quarters of 2020 (4% in weight).
An interesting fact surrounds the consumption of game consoles, mobile phones, electrical ovens and laptops The consumption of these type of items increased due to COVID-19. This added 0.3 Mt to the consumption of electronic and electrical equipment, and hence future e-waste generation. The increase is solely caused by high-income countries.
To lean more and read the full report or just a summary, please click here.
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