The average American family is seen to discard almost 80 kilogram of discarded electronic items. In 2016 the total amount of electronic waste in the world reached 44.7 million metric tonnes (Mt).These include small but expensive mobile phones to big and much needed refrigerators. By 2021 it is said to grow to 52.2 million which is a growth of 17%. This major problem needs to stop before it becomes out of hand.
As technology has become updated, with old TV screens being replaced by flat screens, and then flat screens becoming replaced by ultra thin screens the pile of e waste keeps increasing. Recycling is starting to become encouraged, with electronic goods having hazardous metals such as lead and mercury.
Failing to recycle leads to a total loss of $55 billion, as per Vanessa Gray of the International Telecommunication Union. E waste has gold, copper and other high value metals which can be recovered. With the current situation of high value metals needed for production of electronics facing depreciation in existence, future electronics may become harder to produce.
China as of now generates the most electronic waste in the world, with 7.2 million tonnes of the 44.7 million tonnes produced. India disposed 2 million tonnes in 2016, but has a strict legislation followed by this problem.
Another reason for growing trends in electronic waste is cheaper smartphones being in trend. As income levels rise, they switch over to newer and more expensive smartphones. Population increasing means multiple devices, and more data centres. This will further increase electronic waste if legislations are not properly drafted and implemented.