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Canada’s e-scrap generation continues to soar

Canada is generating three times more electronic scrap now than twenty years ago, according to a new study by the University of Waterloo.

The total mass of electrical and electronic equipment (covering put on market data, imports & exports and domestic e-scrap) during the period 1971-2030 is estimated to reach 42.3 million tonnes, with an annual average growth rate of approximately 0.5%. Researchers took into account 51 product categories comprising 198 product types.

Canadians generated a total of 252 kilo tonnes worth of e-scrap in 2000, which increased to 954 kilo tonnes in 2020. The figure is estimated to hit 1.2 million tonnes by 2030. Researchers point out that e-scrap generation per capita increased from 8.3 kg in 2000 to 25.3 kg in 2020 and is estimated to reach 31.5 kg by 2030.

Based on dynamic material flow analysis, they expect e-scrap to top 29 million tonnes over the 60-year timespan. ‘This quantification provides valuable insights to policymakers for setting up targets for waste reduction and identifying the resource circularity potential for efficient management of e-waste,’ notes lead author Elham Mohammadi.  

According to last available data, Canada boasts a 20% e-scrap recycling rate.

The complete findings of the study have been published in the Journal of Hazardous Materials.

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