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Tuesday, 18 June 2019 00:00

ITU: e-waste holds $62.5b revenue potential

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The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) has  said electronic or e-waste presents an opportunity valued at over $62.5 billion per year if treated through appropriate recycling chains and methods. It also has a potential to create millions of decent new jobs globally.

The global telecoms body, through the Global E-waste Statistics Partnership, has, therefore, launched a major campaign to address the menace of global electronic or e-waste threat.

ITU, which is a founding member of Global E-waste Statistics Partnership, launched globalewaste.org, an open source portal that visualises e-waste data and statistics globally, by region and by country, for policy-makers, industry, academia and the public.

Discarded equipment, such as phones, laptops, fridges, 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 globalewaste.org, users can now access e-waste data from Global and Regional E-waste Monitors for most countries on earth. Data include 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 a country, where applicable.

ITU Secretary-General, Houlin Zhao,  said: “Reliable and official data and statistics on e-waste provide the foundation for sound e-waste legislation and management at the national level.

“To date, 41 countries report compiling comparable national statistics on e-waste. Better e-waste data will help track progress towards 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 towards addressing the e-waste challenge.”

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

United Nations (UN) Under-Secretary-General, Rector of the United Nations University, David Malone, said: “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. 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.”

International Solid Waste Association President, Antonis Mavropoulos, said: “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.

“We hope that this new initiative will further stimulate the on-going efforts to tackle the e-waste challenge and drive resource recovery policies and activities towards 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.”

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