China doubles its e-scrap volumes in five years

Asia: The volume of electronic scrap generated across 12 Asian countries increased by 63% between 2010 and 2015, concludes a new report from the United Nations University.

The total volume of e-scrap in 2015 was 12.3 million tonnes, with China having more than doubled its scrap volumes to 6.7 million tonnes over the period. Hong Kong had the highest per capita rate, which was nearly 20 times greater than Cambodia which recorded the lowest rate.

While Asia accounted for almost half of the 56.5 million tonnes of electrical and electronic equipment purchased in 2012, the per capita rates of e-scrap generation were still much higher in Europe and the USA.

Claimed to be the first of its kind, the ‘Regional E-waste Monitor’ identified four main trends behind these numbers: innovation in new technology; growing population with rising incomes; decreasing usage times and lifespan of products; and increased imports.

‘Open and illegal’ dumping was also highlighted as an issue in the report, attributed to ‘a lack of awareness, incentive and convenience’, among other factors. A major source of continuing concern is weak enforcement of rules and regulations.

However, Japan, South Korea and Taiwan are praised for their legislative efforts while the government in Hong Kong has formed a public-private partnership to build a new state-of-the-art electronics recycling facility. Operated by ALBA, this plant is scheduled to open its doors shortly.


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