6 surprising facts from the UN’s 2024 electronic waste report

June 6, 2024

Global e-waste is growing 5 times faster than recycling

6 surprising facts from the UN’s 2024 electronic waste report, Lucas Gutterman, PIRG.org, April 11, 2024

Electronic waste (e-waste) is the fastest growing waste stream in the world and includes anything with a plug or a battery. Now, our work to curb e-waste is gaining momentum. Oregon Gov. Tina Kotek signed the nation’s strongest Right to Repair legislation in March. Similar laws will go into effect in California and Minnesota in July. We’ve been campaigning to reduce this waste because of the unique ways that electronics manufacturing and e-waste threaten our health, climate and environment.

It’s been four years since the UN released the previous version of its authoritative international report on e-waste. Here are six of the most surprising facts from the United Nations’ 2024 Global E-Waste Monitor which underscore the urgency of our campaign:

1. The United Nations announces vape waste is a ‘major e-waste contributor’ and it’s getting worse.

Disposable e-cigarettes, better known as vapes, have become a pervasive part of our society. The vape market is expected to grow by 31% annually until 2030 and vape waste could grow at an equally dangerous rate.

Nothing used for a day or two should pollute our environment for hundreds of years. According to CDC Foundation sales estimates, lining-up the disposable vapes sold in a year would stretch for 7,000 miles—long enough to span the continental U.S. twice. Because there is no standard legal way to recycle these products, many users just toss them. U.S. PIRG Education Fund’s Vape Waste report found that Americans throw out 4.5 disposable vapes per second.

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To learn more about ReturnCenter’s commitment to reducing global e-waste visit our Sustainability Page.