Amid the relentless cadence of new phones, tablets, laptops, and wearables that drop every year, that many more retired devices will be left to rot in drawers, landfills, and other places where they simply don’t belong. In recognition of International E-Waste Day (October 14), we’re teaming up with Decluttr to shed some light on the impact of global e-waste, plus we’ll share how you can help combat it.
Did you know that in just one month, the earth’s population produces a staggering 4.5 million metric tons of e-waste? Even more alarming is when you consider that a mere 17.4% of this waste is responsibly recycled, leaving behind 3.7 million metric tons of discarded gadgets — that’s about the same weight as 10 Empire State Buildings combined. Extrapolate that over 12 months, and humans contribute 44.4 million metric tons — or 121 Empire State Buildings — of e-waste to landfills in a single year. Yikes.
What happens to improperly disposed devices?
While some may not give a second thought to tossing an old electronic in the trash to be hauled off to the nearest landfill, the ramifications of doing so can be severe.
Most electronic devices come loaded with lithium ion batteries. If punctured or compromised in any way, these batteries will leak toxic chemicals into both the air and the soil. Not only does this contribute to the effects of global warming, these chemicals can also negatively impact local ecosystems by contaminating the wild life, plant life, and even your drinking water.
Top 10 countries that produce the most e-waste per month
So let’s get down to the stat you really want to know: Which countries throw away the most amount of devices every month? According to Decluttr, the most egregious offender is China, which produces 844,121 metric tons of e-waste monthly. In second place is the United States, with 576,500 metric tons of e-waste. Rounding out the top three is India with 269,152 metric tons of e-waste produced every month.
- China — 844,121
- USA — 576,500
- India — 269,152
- Japan — 214,080
- Brazil — 178,550
- Russia — 135,930
- Indonesia — 134,831
- Germany — 133,892
- United Kingdom — 133,141
- France — 113,538
Top 10 countries that recycle the most e-waste per month
On the flip side, Decluttr’s also uncovered the top 10 countries that are best at recycling their old electronics. Out of the nations that publicly report their e-waste numbers, Estonia ranked highest with 75.37% of their retired devices being responsibly recycled, followed by Croatia (74.46%), and Norway (70.98%).
- Estonia — 75.37%
- Croatia — 74.46%
- Norway — 70.98%
- Austria — 69.53%
- Iceland — 69.36%
- Sweden — 68.35%
- Bulgaria — 66.59%
- Switzerland — 61.19%
- Finland — 59.17%
- Ireland — 56.13%
Further down the list is the United Kingdom in 14th place with 54.52% of its old devices being recycled, followed by the United States in 39th place with a paltry 14.74%.
How to combat global e-waste
As consumer technology continues to grow at a rapid pace, it’s clear that e-waste will only become an increasingly larger threat to society. In just the last six years, e-waste production has grown by 21%. If this number continues along its current path, e-waste will expand an additional 35% by 2030. The good news is that the answer to solving the global e-waste crisis is simple: recycle your old devices! Better yet, get paid to have someone recycle them for you!
Decluttr is an all-encompassing electronic device purchasing, refurbishing, and reselling platform that accepts all kinds of electronic devices in exchange for cash. Not only this, but Decluttr pays up to 33% more for old devices than carrier buyback programs offer, plus Android Police readers can throw on an additional 10% (up to $30) by using the code POLICE10.
To get started, head on over to Decluttr’s website, follow the prompts, and lock in the value of your device for the next 28 days. Then within this window, ship it away to Decluttr, and you’ll get paid one day after it arrives.
To learn more about global e-waste and what you can do to help, be sure to check out Decluttr’s complete analysis here.
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