7 e-waste facts we bet you didn’t know

If you’re someone who has old or broken electronics collecting dust in drawers at home, you’re not alone. In fact, in the UK for every 1 phone in use, 4 sit unused. 

But unless you're planning on starting a museum dedicated to every Samsung or iPhone you've ever owned, it's likely that those phones will eventually end up going in the bin and then in landfills.

But it's just a phone… it's small, right?!

The UN estimated that in 2019 alone, over 22 million tonnes of small e-waste were produced worldwide. This is 40% of the 57 million tonnes of e-waste that is made around the world every year. If the amount of these small items keeps growing at the same rate as total e-waste (around 3% per year), it will reach 29 million tonnes by 2030.

Not so small after all.

This global issue is growing at a faster rate than any other waste stream and we need all hands on deck to fight it, especially this International E-Waste Day.

To help you start the conversation and get your friends, peers and family to think about their tech usage, here are 7 e-waste facts we bet you didn’t know:


1. E-waste is on course to double by 2050 to 120 million tonnes a year or 11,500 Eiffel Towers


2. Less than 20% of e-waste is recycled sustainably, the rest is dumped on our neighbours where it can leak harmful toxins into the earth

3. In 2019, 53.6 million tonnes of E-waste was produced. That’s the same eight as 350 cruise ships placed end to end to form a line 125km long

4. In 2020, UN report found that over £7.9 billion worth of platinum, gold and other precious metals were dumped every year within our electronic device

5. Recycling our old tech would cut as much CO2 as taking 1.3 million cars off the road

6. Unwanted cables stashed away in UK homes could circle the Earth more than 5 times

7. British households are sitting on more than £20 billion of unused tech, with the average adult not having had a clear-out for over three and a half years.

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