Eye-Opening Electronic Waste Statistics That Will Make You Think Twice

Eye-Opening Electronic Waste Statistics That Will Make You Think Twice
keyKey Takeaways:
  • The global e-waste generated in 2019 was a record-breaking 53.6 million metric tons.
  • China, the United States, and India were the top three countries that produced the most toxic e-waste.
  • Small electronic devices such as mobile phones and laptops are the most common sources of e-waste.
  • Initiatives such as extended producer responsibility and circular economy principles are essential for reducing e-waste and building a sustainable future with human safety standards.

Electronic equipment is high in demand today and also drives higher levels of disposable income, and increases urbanization. 

A large proportion of electronics have a short lifespan, and it is often perceived as being difficult to repair. Most of us know that we should not throw old electronics in the trash, but, are you aware of where the e-waste ends up? 

E-waste is a term used to describe obsolete electrical and electronic equipment. With the proliferation of these devices, e-waste has become a serious health and environmental problem globally. 

Can you imagine how much electronic waste is generated? 

A record 53.6 million metric tons of e-waste was reported before four years. The new report predicts that e-waste will reach 74.7 Mt by 2030.

In this article, we will talk about the electronic waste statistics. Highlighting the worries of electronic waste and its issues.

Global E-waste Generation Statistics [2010-2022]

There is no official figure for the exact amount of global e-waste generation currently. However, using the data from 2010- 2022, we can estimate from the statistics given. Let’s find out. 

  • According to Statista, more than 50 million metrics ton of e-waste is generated every year
  • On average, it takes around 7 kgs of e-waste per capita
  • Between 2010 to 2019, e-waste materials increased by approximately 60%, and this shows no sign of slowing down
  • The global e-waste management market size was valued at $49,880 million in 2020
  • Registering a CAGR of 14.3% from 2021 to 2028, e-waste is projected to reach $143,870 million
  • In the next seven years, annual e-waste production is on track to reach 75 Mt
  • Global e-waste is through to hold $60 billion worth of raw materials like gold, palladium, silver, and copper
  • 17% of global discarded electronics is documented to be collected and recycled each year

Check out the below video that talks about how many millions of tonnes of electrical and electronics are wasted every year.

After seeing this video, you might wonder, how much more e-waste will continue to increase in the future. Let’s check country-wise e-waste generation in the next section. 

Which Countries Produce More Toxic Waste?

Many of the raw materials that are required to make an electronic device are toxic and hazardous. As they become useless or unrepairable, it needs proper disposal to ensure they do not pose a risk to health and the environment. 

Which countries produce more toxic waste

Now look at the image below, it depicts the volume of e-waste produced in 2019 in different countries.

China produced the largest volume of e-waste 10,129 metric tons followed by the Americans with nearly 7000 metric tons. E-waste produced by Europe is much less compared to the other countries. The below table shows the top countries producing e-waste in KiloTons. 

Country E-waste Production in Kt Recycling Rate
China 10,129 16%
USA 6,918 15%
India 3,230 1%
Japan 2,569 22%
Brazil 2,143 0%
Russia 1,631 6%
Indonesia 1,618 0%
Germany 1,607 52%
UK 1,598 57%
France 1,362 56%

With the above table, you must have understood the amount of e-waste produced in each country and how much is it recycled. 

Do you think only computers and TVs contribute to e-waste metric tons? Well, in our next section, you can check different types of e-waste that are equally responsible for the increase in e-waste production.

What are the Most Common Electrical or Electronic Devices that Produce E-waste?

There are 6 main categories of e-waste such as small IT and telecom equipment, screen and monitors, temperature exchange equipment, large equipment, lamps, and small equipment. By weight, even the smallest equipment e-waste accounts for the largest share of the e-waste. 

Some electronic devices lead to e-waste generation

It is a vicious circle, where villagers cannot grow crops because soils are heavily polluted. And, working in the recycling industry will degrade their health. 

However, according to Statista, below are the everyday products that generate metric tons of e-waste worldwide:

    • 32% of small electronic equipment like microwaves, cameras, etc. 
    • 24% of large equipment such as washing machines, and fax machines
    • 20% of temperature exchange devices like AC, refrigerators
    • 13% of screen time and mobile phones
    • 9% of small IT equipment such as computers and laptops
    • 2% lamps

Let’s check the growing effect of the products mentioned above to mankind. 

Growing effect of toxic materials

    • Birth defects
    • Damage to central and peripheral nervous systems
    • Distorted blood composition
    • Damaged lungs, liver, and kidneys
    • Death

To avoid these eruptions, what is the solution? Right, Recycling e-waste. Moving on, check the statistics for recycling e-waste and the trends that can help us build a sustainable future. 

E-waste Recycling Statistics and Trends

E-waste recycling statistics and trends
    • A large amount of e-waste is actually not waste, but rather whole equipment or parts for reuse or recycled materials. 
    • For every 1 million mobile devices recycled, 35,274 lbs of copper, 772 silver, and 33 lbs of palladium are recovered. 
    • Did you know?
      Only 20% of e-waste is recycled every year

    • 1 million laptops are recycled to save energy which is equivalent to the electricity used by 3600 homes in the USA in a year.
    • 539 lbs of fossil fuel, 48 lbs of chemical, and 1.5 tons of water are used to manufacture one monitor or a computer.

E-waste statistics in the USA

As per the above sections of the article, the US is one of the leading producers of e-waste. 

    • The US only recycled 15% of e-waste every year
    • The valuable raw materials in e-waste generated by the USA in 2019 are almost $7.5 billion
    • 40% of heavy metals in the US landfills come from discarded electronic devices

Latest recycling trends to follow in 2023

According to Statista, where the market value of global e-waste segment is valued at $49.88 billion in 2020, it is registered to reach $140 billion in the next 5 years at the CAGR of 14.3%. 

Not always the entire e-waste is recycled. Check out the top e-waste recycling trends to understand what changes are in the environment. 

1. Increase of work-from-home employees

Due to the pandemic, more employees could work from home and are finding comfort. It has increased productivity with their own office set up at home. This increases the amount of e-waste being produced. 

For example, instead of sharing a printer at work, employees will need their separate printers at home. Likewise, internet connections, modems, or routers are needed. All of these additional electronics purchased will soon come to an end, increasing the e-waste. 

2. More funds invested in recycling e-waste

Biden-Harris administration had announced a $375 million investment to use in establishing recycling, reuse, and waste prevention initiatives. This is the largest investment that any recycling program would have received. This helps recycling easy for people to build a successful circular economy throughout the nation. 

3. Recycling drivers assigned across the cities

Many cities have started to host recycling drives. People can load tons of waste and bring them to drop-off locations. The unused electronics are then recycled properly. Other cities are adapting to provide drop-off bins at nearby points considering the conflict of people’s busy schedules. 

4. Pick-up recycling program by retail stores

You can hire Best Buy to visit your home to pick up unwanted and dead electronics. Through their haul-away service, you can recycle up to three items at one time for free. While people can also bring their electronics to Staples every day, the home service brings more convenience for larger items. 

5. The EU passed a universal charger policy

You have probably experienced the issue of having different chargers for different electronic devices you have. An iPhone requires a lightning charge cable, an Android needs USB-C, and an e-reader needs USB-A. All these cables increase the amount of e-waste generated. 

So, the EU passed the Universal Charger Policy where all devices will need to use USB-C by 2024. However, Apple is solely trying to move to wireless charging to prevent the extra need for cables. Will the USA consider the same? Well, a few companies feel that this law lowers the possibility of being innovative. 

After reading all the e-waste statistics and trends above, questions may still arise. We need to take the initiative to reduce the waste or ensure whether e-waste is properly recycled.

But how? Let’s quickly find out what’s the solution.

How can You Reduce the Fastest-Growing Waste Streams?

After reading the e-waste global statistics, we hope you have a greater appreciation of the need to recycle e-waste properly. Many major cities accept e-waste to recycle irrespective of where it is purchased. 

As mentioned above, if only 20% of e-waste is recycled, we need more initiatives to take on this challenge every year to prevent environmental pollution. To help you further, you can read our recently published article on simple ways to reduce e-waste. 

If you want to start your own e-waste business, you need to manage the entire process of collecting the e-waste to recycling. Collecting e-waste from different locations is not an easy task. The only trend that can help you with this is a unique waste management routing software like Upper

Upper is a robust and user-friendly software that helps in planning, scheduling, and optimizing routes for various waste pickup locations.

Looking for Ideal Waste Management Routing Software?

Try Upper and get faster routes for your waste collection trips. Minimize your vehicle cost and save a lot of time by finding optimized routes on Upper.


One of the major challenges in e-waste recycling is the lack of proper infrastructure and facilities for the collection, transportation, and processing of e-waste. Additionally, the complexity and variety of electronic devices make it difficult to recycle them efficiently. Another challenge is the low value of some e-waste materials, which makes it economically unfeasible to recycle them.

There are several benefits to e-waste recycling, including:

    • Conservation of natural resources
    • Reduction of hazardous waste
    • Job creation
    • Energy savings

The waste recycling services industry has been experiencing steady growth over the past decade due to increasing awareness about environmental issues and the need for sustainable waste management practices. The global e-waste management market size was valued at $49,880 million in 2020 and is projected to reach $143,870 million by 2028, registering a CAGR of 14.3% from 2021 to 2028.

Build a Sustainable Future Considering Human Safety Standards

With the above statistics, you might have gauged that e-waste management is a growing issue worldwide with tons of waste being produced and less of it being recycled. If you are into the recycling business or want to start a new business to manage e-waste, you are a great contributor to saving the environment. 

However, to start with, you would need advanced software to manage time and plan the routes to effectively collect the e-waste from different locations. Luckily, you have landed at the right place as waste management routing solutions by Upper will help you optimize routes for your multiple projects. Book a demo with us!

Author Bio
Rakesh Patel
Rakesh Patel

Rakesh Patel is the founder and CEO of Upper Route Planner, a route planning and optimization software. With 28+ years of experience in the technology industry, Rakesh is a subject matter expert in building simple solutions for day-to-day problems. His ultimate goal with Upper Route Planner is to help delivery businesses eliminate on-field delivery challenges and simplify operations such as route planning, scheduling, dispatching, take a proof of delivery, manage drivers, real time tracking, customer notifications and more. He loves sharing his thoughts on eliminating delivery management challenges via blogs. Read more.