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Partnership Launches Portal to Address Global E-waste Challenge

Comparable national data on e-waste aims to help track progress toward global e-waste legislation and recycling goals.

The Global E-waste Statistics Partnership, of which the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) is a founding member, recently launched globalewaste.org, an open source portal that visualizes electronic waste (e-waste) data and statistics globally, by region and by country, for policymakers, industry, academia and the public.

Discarded equipment, such as phones, laptops, refrigerators, sensors and TVs are referred to as e-waste. E-waste contains substances that pose considerable environmental and health risks, especially if treated inadequately. On the other hand, e-waste presents an opportunity worth more than $62.5 billion per year if treated through appropriate recycling chains and methods, with the potential of creating millions of decent new jobs worldwide.

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On globalewaste.org, users can access e-waste data from global and regional e-waste monitors for most countries on Earth. Data includes the amount of e-waste generated in total and per capita and discarded prior to any collection, reuse, treatment or export; the amount of e-waste formally collected in total and per capita and regulated by environmental protection laws specifically designed for e-waste; and e-waste legislation by country, where applicable.

“Reliable and official data and statistics on e-waste provide the foundation for sound e-waste legislation and management at the national level,” said Houlin Zhao, ITU secretary-general, in a statement. “To date, 41 countries report compiling comparable national statistics on e-waste. Better e-waste data will help track progress toward global ITU e-waste targets that member states have set for 2023. With its extensive private-public membership, ITU is pleased to be part of the Global E-waste Statistics Partnership, and the new portal is a vital step toward addressing the e-waste challenge.”

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The Global E-waste Statistics Partnership comprises ITU, the United Nations University (UNU) and the International Solid Waste Association (ISWA).

“Our research and advocacy on sustainable e-waste practices are helping to place this issue on the global political agenda, but more action is needed to stem the ever-increasing tide of e-waste,” said David Malone, U.N. under-secretary-general and rector of the United Nations University, in a statement. “We need to develop innovative e-waste policies, establish and monitor waste reduction targets and forge new multi-stakeholder partnerships for action including with the private sector. We hope the Global E-waste Statistics Partnership and the new interactive online platform will support these needed next steps.”

“ISWA welcomes the new globalewaste.org portal as the next step for the development and the increase of the added value of the Global E-Waste Statistics Partnership,” said Antonis Mavropoulos, ISWA president, in a statement. “We hope that this new initiative will further stimulate the ongoing efforts to tackle the e-waste challenge and drive resource recovery policies and activities toward a circular economy in the IT industry. We know that our capacity to deliver sound e-waste management is also measure of our response to the new waste streams that are already delivered by IND4.0, thus, we consider that the Global E-Waste Statistics Partnership demonstrates a role model for other industrial sectors, too.”

The portal globalewaste.org also details how countries can be supported through capacity building activities of the Global E-waste Statistics Partnership to enhance e-waste data collection.

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