UN report: Asian e-waste generation up 63% in 5 years
- According to a new report from the United Nations University, the average amount of electronic waste created across 12 Asian countries increased by 63% between 2010 and 2015, as reported by Mashable.
- The total amount of waste created in 2015 was 12.3 million metric tons. China more than doubled its waste to 6.7 million metric tons. Hong Kong had the highest per capita rate, which was nearly 20 times more than Cambodia which had the lowest.
- While Asia accounted for almost half of the 56.56 million metric tons of electrical and electronic equipment purchased in 2012, the per capita rates of waste generation were still much higher in Europe and the Americas.
The "Regional E-waste Monitor" report, the first of its kind, identified four main trends behind these numbers that will sound familiar to those in U.S. markets as well. Innovation in new technology, growing population with rising incomes, decreasing usage times and lifespan of products, and increased imports were all key factors.
Open and illegal dumping was also highlighted as an issue in the report due to a lack of awareness, incentive and convenience among other factors. Weak enforcement is also a general issue, though Japan, South Korea and Taiwan are seen as ahead of the curve due to legislative efforts. In Hong Kong, the government has formed a public-private partnership to build a new state-of-the-art electronics recycling facility.
On top of this trend many of these countries and territories are still dealing with high import volumes from the U.S. and elsewhere. It's not uncommon for some of this material to end up in unregulated facilities and capacity could become a bigger challenges in the years ahead if this trend of e-waste generation continues in Asia.
Follow Cole Rosengren on Twitter