International E-Waste Day - 14 October 2020

A record 53.6 million metric tonnes (Mt) of electronic waste was generated worldwide in 2019, up 21 per cent in just five years, according to the UN’s Global E-waste Monitor 2020. It is estimated that by 2030 this number will reach 74 Mt! Only 17.4 per cent of 2019’s e-waste was collected and recycled.

International E-Waste Day was developed in 2018 by the WEEE Forum with the support of its members. The day is used to raise the public profile of e-waste recycling and encourage consumers to recycle their e-waste with the resulting increase in e-waste recycling rates on the day itself and into the future.

The second International E-Waste Day took place on 14 October 2019. 112 organisations from 48 countries took part in the day with activities ranging from conferences to social media campaigns. You can see the overview of the activities here. The activities received high profile press coverage, with numerous organisations appearing on national television to discuss the  initiative. EU Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, Karmenu Vella, recorded a special message for International E-Waste Day and we were pleased to have the partnership of UN body, International Telecommunication Union (ITU) for 2019. For the 2020 edition the WEEE Forum and ITU will partner again in a preparation of a report issued for the occasion. 

This year the WEEE Forum members decided to focus the celebrations of the IEWD on the theme of education. By sensitising the younger audience around the e-waste issues, we don't only bring up a new generation of responsible consumers, but also make the message heard among their families, teachers and local communities. 

In the past editions the activities organised by the participants included:

  • Conferences and events;
  • School collection days;
  • Information campaigns in stores and recycling centres;
  • On-line guide for proper e-waste disposal;
  • Circular Economy games for schools;
  • Social media competitions.
  • And many more! See the details in the previous editions' sections on the left hand side.
International E Waste Social Media Forum Grn AW

All of these were promoted locally on and around the International E-waste Day. Consumers are key to e-waste recycling and we have high aspirations that this campaign can have a huge impact on their habits.

In 2019 only 17,4% of global e-waste was collected and properly recycled, which means that 44,3 million metric tonnes of e-waste, valued at US $57 billion, was either placed in landfill, burned or illegally traded and treated in a sub-standard way, and this is despite 71% of the world’s population being covered by e-waste legislation. This results in the huge loss of valuable and critical raw materials from the supply chain and causes serious health, environmental and societal issues through illegal shipments of waste to developing countries.

Even in the Europe, which leads the world in e-waste recycling, only 42,5% of e-waste is officially reported as collected and recycled and the lack of public awareness is preventing countries from developing circular economies for electronic equipment.

Would you like to help us raising awareness about the e-waste issue?