50m tonnes of electronic waste worth $62bn produced globally: Report

Mohamed Alaa El-Din
2 Min Read

A study conducted by Iron Mountain – Egypt based on multiple research sources showed that the world annually produces about 50 million tonnes of electronic and electrical waste, and the volume of this waste will rise to 120 million tonnes by 2050.

The study estimated the value of this electronic and electrical waste at $62.5bn, and only 20% of it is recycled.

Hadir Hassan — General Manager of Iron Mountain in Egypt — said that according to the study, 16 tonnes of copper, 350 kg of silver, and 34 kg of gold can be extracted from every million unused mobile phones.

The study indicated that every tonne of electronic waste that is recycled saves the world emissions estimated at about two tonnes of CO2, especially since the manufacture of new electronic devices represents more than 70% of carbon emissions in the IT industry.

Hassan also said that brands and companies are working on devising ways to help motivate consumers to increase the frequency of recycling in light of the global trend towards a circular economy.

She added that e-waste is the fastest growing waste in the world according to the United Nations Environment Programme, as the world produces up to 50 million tonnes of electronic and electrical waste annually, which exceeds the weight of all commercial aircrafts ever made.

Perhaps even more exciting is the fact that the annual value of global e-waste — including IT equipment and electronics such as computers, laptops, phones, hard drives, and tablets — is worth more than $62.5bn. However, less than 20% of these resources are officially recycled.

This means there are missed environmental and business opportunities that companies can capitalise on by embedding circular principles into their IT operations.

When considering the lifecycle management of your company’s IT assets, a more sustainable approach can provide many benefits.

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