E-Waste

10 Oct 2014

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What is E-Waste?

E-Waste or “Electronic Waste” is a term used to describe old and discarded electronic components and appliances including mobile phone, televisions, computers, printers, photocopiers, faxes, batteries, among others.

Rapid technological advancements have led to high dependency on technology. Today people are more likely to replace old technology with new and updated devices, increasing worldwide e-waste.

Why is E-Waste Harmful?

E-Waste, if not disposed off correctly, can be highly toxic and environmentally damaging. Harmful substances such as lead, mercury, arsenic, selenium, cobalt, and cadmium are in everyday e-waste, putting humans at risk of exposure.

Hundreds of thousands of electronics end up in landfills or burned seeping into groundwater, contaminating soil, and indirectly entering the food chain. This further effects humans as research has suggested toxins can develop health problems in the nervous, respiratory system, and reproductive system.

Many more e-waste is illegally exported from industrialized countries to Asia, especially China. The workers handling the e-waste, many times children, are exposed to all the toxic chemicals and poisons in these devices.

E-Waste in China

According to a recent report, with the world’s largest population and a growing one at that, Chinese consumers in 2011 purchased 56.6 million televisions, 58.1 million refrigerators, 53.0 million washing machines, 94.8 million air conditioners and 73.9 million computers, in addition to 250 million mobile phones. In the same year 3.62 million tonnes of similar products were discarded domestically.

Local Campaign for E-Waste Recycling

UNDP in China has worked with internet giant Baidu to launch an e-waste recycle application called Baidu Recycle. The app informs end users on disposal sites for their e-waste. The light app also notifies users of the benefits of e-waste recycling and costs of not recycling. BY promoting national awareness of e-waste and e-waste recycling, UNDP will encourage cleaner and safer disposal practices in turn reducing the long-term harmful effects of e-waste.

Work with Us

  • Download UNDP-Baidu smartphone e-waste application called Baidu Recycle today and encourage your friends and family to use the app. To access the e-waste web app, search for “Baidu Recycle” in your Baidu App, on iOS or Android.
  • Let’s talk! Follow us on Weibo (@undpchina) and WeChat (ID: undpchina) to learn more about our campaign, share your own e-waste tips, and help us start a national conversation on e-waste.