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Global E-waste Monitor 2024

Global E-waste Monitor 2024:

The United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) has released the Global E-waste Monitor 2024, which states that the world’s generation of electronic waste is rising five times faster than documented e-waste recycling.

Highlights of the Global E-waste Monitor 2024 Report:

  • There is a significant increase in global e-waste generation, rising from 34 billion (bn) kg in 2010 to 62 bn kg in 2022.
  • This trend is projected to continue, reaching 82 bn kg by 2030.
  • Of this 62 bn kg, only 13.8 bn kg is documented as ‘formally collected and recycled in an environmentally sound manner’.
  • 62 bn kg of e-waste includes 31 bn kg of metals, 17 bn kg of plastics and 14 bn kg of other materials (minerals, glass, composite materials, etc.)
  • Factors driving the increase in e-waste generation include technological progress, higher consumption rates, limited repair options, short product life cycles, growing electronification, and inadequate e-waste management infrastructure.
  • A significant portion of e-waste (both in high- and upper-middle-income countries as well as low- and lower-middle-income countries) is handled by the informal sector due to inadequate formal e-waste management infrastructure.
  • The improper management of e-waste, including informal recycling practices, leads to the release of hazardous substances such as mercury and plastics containing brominated flame retardants into the environment, posing direct and severe impacts on both the environment and public health.
  • A brominated flame retardant is a chemical compound containing bromine that is added to materials to inhibit or suppress the ignition and spread of fires.
  • They work by interfering with the combustion process, reducing the flammability of materials and slowing down the rate at which flames spread.
  • A whopping 58,000 kg of mercury and 45 million kg of plastics containing brominated flame retardants are released into the environment every year.
  • Europe has the highest rate of documented formal collection and recycling of e-waste (42.8%), while Africa struggles with low recycling rates (<1%) despite generating lower amounts of e-waste.
  • Asia, including India, generates a significant portion of global e-waste but has made limited advances in e-waste management.
  • Countries in Asia generate almost half of the world’s e-waste (30 bn kg) but relatively few of them have enacted legislation or established clear e-waste collection targets.
  • Europe (17.6 kg), Oceania (16.1 kg) and the Americas (14.1 kg) generated the highest amount of e-waste per capita in 2022.
  • They also had the highest documented per capita collection and recycling rates (7.53 kg per capita in Europe, 6.66 kg per capita in Oceania and 4.2 kg per capita in the Americas).
  • This was because their collection and recycling infrastructure was the most advanced.
  • Collection and recycling rates are highest for heavier and bulkier equipment like temperature exchange equipment and screens and monitors.
  • Thus, while toys, microwave ovens, vacuum cleaners and e-cigarettes comprise a third (20 bn kg) of the world’s e-waste, recycling rates for them are very low 12% globally.
  • Small IT and telecommunication equipment — laptops, mobile phones, GPS devices and routers — constitute 5 bn kg of e-waste.
  • But just 22% of this is documented as formally collected and recycled.
  • 81 countries have adopted e-waste policy, legislation or regulation.
  • Sixty-seven countries have legal provisions on Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) for e-waste.
  • Another 46 have provisions on e-waste collection rate targets. Finally, 36 countries have provisions on e-waste recycling rate targets.


  • Electronic waste (e-waste), is a generic term used to describe all types of old, end-of-life or discarded electrical and electronic equipment, such as household appliances, office information and communications equipment etc.