Electronic Waste Vs General Waste

Just how much e-waste do we produce?

Large household appliances represent the largest proportion (about 50%) of electronic waste (e-waste), followed by information and communications technology equipment (about 30%) and consumer electronics (about 10%).

(International labour office (ILO),’ Geneva: The Global Impact of e-waste, addressing the challenge’.)

Is e-waste more dangerous than general waste?

The composition of e-waste is very diverse and differs across many product lines, categories and scientific groups. Overall, e-waste contains more than 1000 different substances that fall into ‘hazardous’ and ‘non-hazardous’ categories. The toxicity of many chemicals in e-waste is currently unknown.

General household waste

We are, as a nation, becoming better educated at recycling our household waste. Local councils are introducing bigger recycling facilities and we as households are throwing away less general waste than 10 years ago. Did you know:

  • The largest lake in Britain could be filled with UK rubbish in 8 months.
  • Up to 60% of the rubbish that ends up in the dustbin could be recycled.
  • As much as 50% of waste in the average dustbin could be composted.
  • Up to 80% of a vehicle can be recycled.
  • 9 out of 10 people in the UK would recycle more if it was easier. 


General waste vs e-waste

E-waste now makes up 5% of all municipal solid waste worldwide, nearly the same amount as all plastic packaging, but is much more hazardous.

E-waste is now the fastest growing component of the municipal solid waste stream as people are constantly upgrading their mobile phones, computers, televisions and audio equipment at an alarming rate. In Europe and the UK, e-waste is increasing at three to five percent a year, almost three times faster than the total waste stream. (www.greenpeace.org)


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