When the Chinese government made the call to ban 24 different kinds of solid waste, the United States, as well as the U.K., Australia and Japan, were suddenly facing a huge waste problem. Up until the decision was made, China was happily taking around 70 percent of the electronic waste from around the world. This included old, discarded computers, cellphones, televisions, microwaves, printers, and various other electronic bits, pieces and equipment. However, since China made the environmental decision to stop taking in e-waste, the U.S. (as well as Europe) has been shipping their e-waste to Southeast Asia. Even now, two of the largest collectors of this waste, Vietnam and Thailand, have made decisions to stop the importing of e-waste, following China’s lead.
Back in 2016, the amount of e-waste estimated across the globe was about 49 million tons. However, the projected estimates for 2021 have the amount of e-waste somewhere around 57 to 60 million tons. So, why such a surge in waste?
The Rising Tide Of E-Waste
With technology becoming even more of a staple in almost every aspect of our lives with semiconductors and sensors being helpful and essential additions to almost every product now, there is no surprise we are seeing a surge in e-waste. Wearable technology is skyrocketing, smart homes are more and more prevalent, and these are just a few increases in technology that are making old electronics part of a bygone era that can be added to a surge in cellphone use to add to the surplus of waste around the world.
A surge in technology would cause a spike in e-waste alone. However, the surge also means that we are buying and replacing our electronics at a much quicker pace than ever before, and the price of a lot of technology is more affordable now than it has ever been, which has seen a lot of middle-class families around the globe going digital. It is estimated that 7.7 million people have cell phones.
This post was written by Steven Elia Co-Founder and Recycling Director at eCycle Florida. eCycle Florida is a R2 Certified electronics recycling company in the state of Florida. Our processes and procedures are dedicated to the proper destruction and recycling of your electronics. eCycle Florida is your go-to for electronic recycling in Tampa.