The International Telecommunication Union (ITU), in cooperation with the United Nations University (UNU) acting through its Vice Rectorate in Europe hosted Sustainable Cycles (SCYCLE) Programme and the Solid Waste Association (ISWA), have joined forces to form the Global e-waste Statistics Partnership. Its main objectives are to improve and collect worldwide e-waste statistics. The Partnership will also raise visibility on the importance of tracking e-waste, and deliver capacity building workshops. In December 2017, the Partnership published the Global E-waste Monitor 2017.
More and more people are joining and benefiting from the opportunities of the digital economy and information society. As technologies change at great speed, and as access to and use of electrical and electronic equipment (EEE) increases, product lifecycles become shorter and many designs do not support repair or reuse. As a result, the amount of electronic waste, or e-waste, is growing rapidly. Used, broken, or obsolete equipment, such as phones, laptops, sensors, TVs, and batteries contain substances that pose considerable environmental and health risks, especially if treated inadequately. Most e-waste is not properly documented and not treated through appropriate recycling chains and methods.
Measuring e-waste is an important step towards addressing the e-waste challenge. Statistics help to evaluate developments over time, set and assess targets, and identify best practices of policies. Better e-waste data will help to minimize its generation, prevent illegal dumping, promote recycling, and create jobs in the reuse, refurbishment and recycling sectors. It will contribute to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals, in particular SDG12, to ‘ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns’.