My inquiry questions is: What are the dangers of electronic consumer waste that we must consider globally?
Round 1 research: What is E-waste (electronic and electrical waste)? What are the different types of E-waste? Are there any major/minor ones?
E-waste is a common name for electronic products that are at the end of their “lifetime.” In other words, it is electrical or electronic devices that are outdated, unwanted, or broken (2).
According to Statista, a major and most common type of E-waste generated in the world is small equipment such as microwaves, electric kettles, and cameras. In 2019, the largest producer of E-waste worldwide was China, generating more than 10 million metric tons. Close on its tail, the United States produced approximately seven million metric tons. Arising from the information above, roughly 54 million metric tons of E-waste were generated in 2019 (3). In 2021, the number increased to 57.4 million metric tons, and in 2030, the number is predicted to rise to 74.7 million metric tons (4).
Being one of the fastest-growing streams on our planet (1), E-waste contains both valuable materials and hazardous materials. We must learn how to handle E-waste, which will be further explained in research round #3. Moreover, learning to recognize the common types of E-waste will initiate the start of becoming aware of this issue.
The following are some common E-waste items (2):
- Electric cookers
- Home entertainment devices (projectors, speakers, etc.)
Communications and Information Technology Devices
- Cell phones
- Smart phones
- Desktop computers
- Hard drives
Home Entertainment Devices
- Video Game Systems
- Massage chairs
- Remote controls
- Smart watches
- Night lights
Office and Medical Equipment
- Cords and cables
- WiFi dongles
- Audio and video equipment
- Network hardware (servers, switches, etc.)
- Imaging devices
- A. (2021, August 4). An intro to e-waste: Why it’s a problem. Recycle Coach. https://recyclecoach.com/blog/an-intro-to-e-waste-why-its-a-problem/
- Clark, J. (2020, March 12). What is E-waste? Definition and Why It’s Important. Great Lakes Electronics. https://www.ewaste1.com/what-is-e-waste
- Statista. (2021, March 4). Global e-waste generation by major country 2019. https://www.statista.com/statistics/499952/ewaste-generation-worldwide-by-major-country/
- Statista. (2021, March 11). Outlook on global e-waste generation 2019–2030. https://www.statista.com/statistics/1067081/generation-electronic-waste-globally-forecast/