UK generated 2nd largest amount of e-waste as a country in 2022

A new study has revealed the countries that produce the most e-waste, with the UK ranking second to Norway. 

The study by Uswitch analysed data from the Global E-waste monitor 2020, to reveal the countries that generate the most e-waste.

Norway is the country that produces the most e-waste at 26 kg per person, according to the study.

However, Uswitch says that Norway has taken steps to improve its e-waste management, through a “take back” scheme. It continues that this means the companies that produce electrical or electronic equipment and batteries help finance the electronic waste and recycling industry.

Uswitch says estimates suggest that each smartphone produces 93kg of CO2.

The UK generates the second-highest amount of e-waste per capita in the world, with 23.9 kg. Uswitch says that recent research suggests that by 2024, the UK will overtake Norway to become the world’s biggest contributor.

Switzerland is 3rd on the list, producing 23.4kg per capita of e-waste. Similarly to Norway, Switzerland also has a “take-back” system to encourage companies to tackle the issue, Uswitch says.

The study also highlights that IT and telecoms e-waste has almost doubled in the UK between 2008 (19,053 tonnes) to 2022 (37,631 tonnes estimated).

Uswitch continues that if the current trend continues, the UK will be producing just under 55,000 tonnes of e-waste by 2030.

Which countries does the study say produce the most E-waste?

Rank Country Region National e-waste legislation/policy or regulation in place E-waste generated (kt) E-waste generated per capita (kg)
1 Norway Europe Yes 139 26.0
2 United Kingdom Europe Yes 1,598 23.9
3 Switzerland Europe Yes 201 23.4
4 Denmark Europe Yes 130 22.4
5 Australia Oceania Yes 554 21.7
6 Netherlands Europe Yes 373 21.6
7 Iceland Europe Yes 8 21.4
8 France Europe Yes 1,362 21.0
8 United States Americas Yes 6,918 21.0
10 Belgium Europe Yes 234 20.4
10 Japan Asia Yes 2,569 20.4

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