The Global E-waste Monitor 2020 

The Global E-waste Monitor 2020 ( is a collaborative product of the Global E-waste Statistics Partnership (GESP), formed by UN University (UNU), the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), and the International Solid Waste Association (ISWA), in close collaboration with the UN Environment Programme (UNEP). The World Health Organization (WHO) and the German Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) also substantially contributed to this year’s Global E-waste Monitor 2020.   

A record 53.6 million metric tonnes (Mt) of electronic waste was generated worldwide in 2019, up 21 per cent in just five years, according to the UN’s Global E-waste Monitor 2020, released today.   The new report also predicts global e-waste - discarded products with a battery or plug - will reach 74 Mt by 2030, almost a doubling of e-waste in just 16 years. This makes e-waste the world’s fastest-growing domestic waste stream, fueled mainly by higher consumption rates of electric and electronic equipment, short life cycles, and few options for repair.   Only 17.4 per cent of 2019’s e-waste was collected and recycled. This means that gold, silver, copper, platinum and other high-value, recoverable materials conservatively valued at US $57 billion -- a sum greater than the Gross Domestic Product of most countries – were mostly dumped or burned rather than being collected for treatment and reuse.  

According to the report, Asia generated the greatest volume of e-waste in 2019 — some 24.9 Mt, followed by the Americas (13.1 Mt) and Europe (12 Mt), while Africa and Oceania generated 2.9 Mt and 0.7 Mt respectively.    For perspective, last year’s e-waste weighed substantially more than all the adults in Europe, or as much as 350 cruise ships the size of the Queen Mary 2, enough to form a line 125 km long.    E-waste is a health and environmental hazard, containing toxic additives or hazardous substances such as mercury, which damages the human brain and / or coordination system.


1. What is E-waste?

Definition, product categories, disposal routes, key issues


2. Global E-waste Key-statistics

Development of global e-waste mountain


3. E-waste and SDG

E-waste as sub-indicator for the Sustainable Development Goals 

4. Measuring E-waste

How to measure e-waste from a statistical point


5. E-waste Legislation and Transboundary Movements

Legislation and policies in place; imports & exports of e-waste


6. E-waste and Circular Economy

Potential of urban mining and closing loops


7. E-waste and Health

Health consequences mainly from improper treatment of e-waste


8. Regional E-waste Status and Trends

Country specific estimates of e-waste generation.


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