This year International E-Waste Day will focus on motivating people to search for forgotten e-waste hoarded in homes and offices, encouraging them to join the e-waste hunt.  

The extent of the E-Waste Issue: 1.55 million Trucks stretched around the Equator! 

According to the United Nation’s latest Global E-Waste Monitor, in 2022, 62 billion kg of e-waste were generated globally. This is the equivalent of 1.55 million trucks filled with e-waste lined up along the whole of the Earth’s equator. The amount of e-waste generated is growing five times faster than formal recycling collection rates since 2010 and will reach 82 billion kg by 2030. 

A 2022 studyby the United Nations Institute for Training & Research (UNITAR) and WEEE Forum members in 6 countries (UK, Italy, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia and The Netherlands), showed that of the 74 e-products found in an average household 13 are being hoarded (9 of them unused but working and 4 broken). Small consumer electronics and accessories (such as headphones or remote controls) rank top of the list of hoarded products and the valuable resources they contain cannot be recycled if they remain hidden in drawers and cupboards. 

Join the E-Waste Hunt – Retrieve, Recycle, and Revive! 

International E-Waste Day (#ewasteday) was created to help tackle this global problem. It takes place every year on October 14th. Initiated by the WEEE Forum and its members, this awareness-raising event aims to highlight the importance of the formal and responsible management of e-waste. Last year, 195 companies from 55 countries took part in the initiative by organising events, e-waste collections, and social media and press campaigns. 

This year’s edition runs under the slogan “Join the e-waste hunt – retrieve, recycle, and revive!” focusing on the forgotten about electronics that people have in their homes, but which contain valuable materials that could gain a new life. E-waste includes anything with a plug, cable, or battery, but the items hoarded most often are small electronics: old mobile phones, cables, USB keys, card readers, game consoles, and other devices that are often kept out of sight in drawers and cupboards. 

“The 2024 International E-Waste Day aims to inspire people to declutter their homes of unused or broken devices. By doing so, everyone can contribute to pollution reduction, resource efficiency, and energy and CO2 savings. In fact, recycling of electronic items not only brings metals, plastics and other materials back to life, it also reduces the need for raw material extraction and processing, which are energy-intensive and emit significant amounts of greenhouse gases. This helps in mitigating climate change and at the WEEE Forum we strongly believe that of the combined efforts of all actors in the sector can make a significant difference in tackling the e-waste issue” says Pascal Leroy, Director General of the WEEE Forum. 

International E-Waste Day takes place on 14 October and any organisations wishing to address the issue of e-waste and wanting to participate are invited to register here. 

Emptying my junk drawer

To play on the ‘e-waste hunt’ idea and on a positive consumer motivation, the WEEE Forum is also launching a social media competition to show that e-waste disposal is not difficult as it may seem. Many households have the secret ‘junk drawer’ where they tend to store all the little items and e-gadgets they don’t know what to do with. The competition consists of posting a photograph of the shameful drawer and stating how these items will be correctly disposed of for recycling, reuse or repair. The participants have a chance to win a train ticket to travel around Europe. Find out more on how to participate here: https://weee-forum.org/contest/  


The WEEE Forum a.i.s.b.l. is an international association representing 51 producer responsibility organisations across the globe. Together with our members, we are at the forefront of turning the extended producer responsibility principle into an effective electronic waste management policy approach through our combined knowledge of the technical, business and operational aspects of collection, logistics, de-pollution, processing, preparing for reuse and reporting of e-waste. Our mission is to be the world’s foremost e-waste competence centre excelling in the implementation of the circularity principle.

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