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Europe’s e-waste nations ranked

Norway and the UK head the European league table of nations producing the most e-waste per household. The annual total range from 57kg in Norway to 11.6kg in Moldova.

The figures comes from the Global E-Waste State Partnership, a United Nations body which published the Global E-Waste Monitor in the summer. It reports that 53.6 million tonnes of electronic waste (discarded products with a battery or electrical plug) was generated worldwide in 2019, up 21% in five years. It estimates the figure will reach 74 million tonnes by 2030.

A London-based waste manager, Clear It Waste, took the data from the report and combined it with household composition data for 39 European countries. Eight countries had insufficient data: Andorra, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Denmark, Iceland, Lichtenstein, North Macedonia, San Marino and Sweden. 

Key findings from the research include: 

  • Norwegians produce the largest  annual volume of household e-waste (57kg)
  • The UK ranks second place with a hefty estimated 55kg of e-waste per household.
  • Others over the 50kg total are Ireland (52.4kg) and Switzerland (51.5kg).
  • Spain is fifth on 49.4kg and The Netherlands produces the sixth highest amount of e-waste at 47.5kg
  • Moldova is by some margin the country with the lowest figure, an estimated 11.6kg.
  • High e-waste generation is closely linked to GDP, measuring a country’s wealth, an element not factored into the Clear It Waste research. The German position in 16th is interesting because, as the continent’s richest nation, it would be expected to have higher levels of e-waste. Being down in 16th suggests Germans are better recyclers and reusers than some of their neighbours.

Clear It Waste recommends those seeking to reduce their household e-waste to postpone upgrading their electronics for as long as possible, saying people frequently upgrade to the latest tech to be on trend even when their current device works perfectly. ‘Unfortunately, it’s this trend hopping culture which contributes dramatically to the amount of e-waste on our planet,’ it concludes.

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