As the use of electronic devices surges, there is increase in the quantity of e-waste being dumped not only in developed countries but also in emerging markets and growing economies.
Considering the fact that mobile phones account for a major share of electronic waste, GSMA urges mobile operators to continue their voluntary efforts around e-waste management, and also to work closely with regulators to develop a legislative framework that takes into account the responsibility of various industry players.
A new report from GSMA and United Nations University Institute for the Advanced Study of Sustainability (UNU-IAS) reveals that Latin America produced 9 percent of the world’s electronic waste, the equivalent of 3,900 kilo tons (kt).
The new study, “E-waste in Latin America: Statistical Analysis and Policy Recommendations,” finds that over the next four years, e-waste generated by the region’s population will grow between 5 and 7 percent annually, with almost 4,800 kt of e-waste predicted by 2018.
The report was commissioned to identify the main challenges related to e-waste management in Latin America, focusing in particular on the opportunities associated with mobile phone collection and recycling.
The total average e-waste generated in 2014 in Latin America was calculated to be 6.6 kg per person, of which 29 g represents mobile phone e-waste per person in the region, or approximately 0.3 mobile phones discarded per person per year.
The report also found that the amount of e-waste is growing worldwide, reaching more than 40,000 kt of discarded electronic products in 2014.
For mobile phones in particular, nearly 189 kt have been discarded worldwide, nearly 17 kt of which was from Latin America.
Also read: Europe dumped its electronic waste on foreign shores
Worldwide, electronic waste generated from mobile phones represents less than 0.5 percent of the total weight of the world’s electronic waste which is the same proportion within Latin America; and
Only a small number of countries in Latin America have specific bills on e-waste; the majority is currently developing legislation but adequate recycling infrastructures should also be developed in parallel.
Within Latin America, most e-waste is generated in Brazil and Mexico, which respectively produced 1,400 kt and 1,000 kt of e-waste during 2014 due to their large populations, followed by Argentina (292 kt), Colombia (252 kt), Venezuela (233 kt), Chile (176 kt) and Peru (147 kt).