composition of e-waste

In the midst of e-revolution, we change our gadgets almost as often as we buy new clothes. Electronic equipment, especially computers, are often discarded by households and businesses not because they are broken but simply because new technology has rendered them obsolete and undesirable. Sometimes, the new software is incompatible with the older hardware leaving customers with no option but to buy new ones. Data from a single-day recycling collection event revealed that more than 50 per cent of rejected computers are in good working order, but they are discarded nonetheless to make way for the latest technology.

Some of the consumer products like refrigerators, televisions and so on were once a lifetime purchase. These days it’s cheaper to throw that broken DVD player, mobile device or TV out and buy a new one leading to ‘replace-rather-than-repair’ mentality.

So what happens to these outmoded appliances when you replace it with the latest model? Or where does a battery go when it is tossed in the trash? Around the world, end-of-life electronics or discarded obsolete cell phones, computers, notebooks, computer game consoles and other electronic devices also known as e-waste, present a significant challenge for our environment and our health.

In Indonesia, with the growth in economy and fast development in technology, the total estimated accumulation of generated e-waste from just households from 2015 and 2025 will triple.

Some e-waste facts:

  1. Most of the home appliances, computers and mobile phones tossed out are never recycled.
  2. By 2017, the volume of discarded e-products worldwide was 33 per cent higher than in 2012 and weigh the equivalent of eight of the Great Pyramids of Egypt.
  3. 300 million computers and 1 BILLION cell phones are put into production each year. This global mountain of waste is expected to continue growing 8% per year, indefinitely
  4. The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that only 15-20% of e-waste is recycled, the rest of these electronics go directly into landfills and incinerators
  5. It’s foreseen in 2030 that developing countries will discard 400 million — 700 million obsolete personal computers per year compared to 200 million — 300 million in developed countries.
  6. For every 1 million cell phones that are recycled, 15000kg of copper, 350kg of silver, 20kg of gold, and 10kg of palladium can be recovered.
  7. It takes 250kg of fossil fuel, 20kg of chemicals, and 1.5 tons of water to manufacture one computer and monitor.



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