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The global e-waste management market size was 49.29 million tons in 2021 and is projected to grow from 50.47 million tons in 2022 to 63.22 million tons by 2029, exhibiting a CAGR of 3.3% during the forecast period. The global COVID-19 pandemic has been unprecedented and staggering, with e-waste management experiencing lower-than-anticipated demand across all regions compared to pre-pandemic levels. Based on our analysis, the global e-waste management market exhibited a decline of 9.1% in 2020 as compared to 2019.
According to the United Nations (UN), e-waste is any waste product with a battery or plug. It contains toxic and dangerous substances, such as mercury, that possess severe risks to human and environmental health. E-waste, e-scrap, electronic waste, and end-of-life electronics are terms frequently used to label used electronics that are approaching the end of their life. They are donated, discarded, or recycled.
According to the UN, in 2021, each person on the planet was estimated to produce on average 7.6 kg of e-waste, which means that 57.4 million tons of e-waste will be generated worldwide. This development has given rise to e-waste management activities and initiatives.
Halt in Collection and Recycling of E-waste Due to COVID-19 Pandemic Hampered Growth
The COVID-19 pandemic affected social lives in multiple ways and highlighted the interrelations between the environmental and communal systems of the world. The measures are taken to control the spread of the virus across society, including lockdowns and halt in manufacturing as well as trade activities, which led to a decline in economic growth, limitations on mobility, and additional need for digitization and quarantine in homes. It was expected that digitization and increase in time spent at home would increase the consumption of electrical and electronic equipment as a result of switching of firms and businesses to home offices, providing the staff with laptops and other office gear for home use, and a simultaneous increase in disposal of such gear and gadgets, partly as a result of house-cleaning during the first lockdowns in 2020. However, statistics exhibited a surprising development from a global perspective.
Lower consumption of electrical and electronic equipment in the first three quarters of 2020 led to a decrease in waste generation of electronic and electrical equipment due to the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly in the first and second quarters of 2020. The reductions were 30% in low-income and middle-income countries, whereas it was a mere 5% in high income countries. The population in low and middle-income countries is continuously growing the gap of access to modern communication technologies and other electronics, causing the digital divide. This inequality is causing a large social side-effect worldwide.
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Adoption of Circular Economy to Boost Market Growth
Looking at the current scenario for the production and consumption of electronic and electrical goods, a new strategy is essential. E-waste is generally considered a post-consumer problem, but the issue encompasses the lifecycle of the product irrelevant to the user. Designers, investors, traders, manufacturers, miners, consumers, raw material producers, policy-makers, and others can play a crucial role in reducing waste, retaining its value within the system, and further extending the economic and physical life of the electronic item. It also influences the ability of the product to be restored, recycled, and reused.
Technological advancements, such as the Internet of Things (IoT) and cloud computing, can potentially dematerialize the electronics industry. Moreover, the rise of various facility business models and improved product tracking and return led to global circular value chains.
A circular economy approach favors closed-loop arrangements in which resources are engaged carefully to generate pioneering products, which can be used for a longer period by sharing, reusing, restoring, and reprocessing. A longer period and clever design indicate greater productivity. Hence, the circular economy approach is expected to be the spine of future sustainable economies.
Stringent Guidelines Regarding E-waste Management and Disposal to Augment Growth
Electronic equipment and technologies are continuously advancing and growing in number. These technologies have become a critical part of our lifestyle and our emerging economy. However, with technological advancement comes the growing challenge of guarding human health and the environment from the potentially damaging effects connected with improper handling and disposal of waste.
The government and various government-affiliated organizations have issued certain stringent rules and guidelines for properly collecting and disposing of e-waste. For instance, the Indian government drafted e-waste management rules in 2016, which are applicable to every manufacturer, producer, bulk consumer, consumer, collection center, e-retailer, dealer, refurbisher, dismantler, and recycler involved in the manufacture, sale, purchase, transfer, storage, collection, and processing of e-waste or electrical and electronic equipment. The rule specifies the responsibility of each component of the product's lifecycle, including manufacturer, producer, collection center, dealers, consumer, dismantler, and recycler.
Additionally, according to the Environmental protection Agency (EPA), a long-term ecological method for electronics stewardship is essential at work and at home. Considering the prevalence of electronics, the federal government is dedicated to being an accountable consumer of electronics and a front-runner in electronics stewardship in the U.S. The EPA participated in the presentation of the UNIDO-GEF venture for “Strengthening of National Initiatives and Enhancement of Regional Cooperation or the Environmentally Sound Management of POPs in Waste of Electronic of Electrical Equipment (WEEE)”. With support from the EPA, Step developed a tool that will enhance the capability of participating countries to evaluate the quantity of e-waste generated, imported, and exported.
Lack of Awareness Regarding Proper Disposal of E-waste to Limit Market Growth
E-waste disposal is a crucial environmental issue the world is facing currently. Lack of knowledge regarding the proper disposal of e-waste that may contain hazardous elements may end them up in landfills. This factor further leads to leaking heavy, toxic, and hazardous metals, including mercury, Lead, arsenic, and cadmium into the soil.
These toxic materials become a serious issue when they seep into groundwater systems causing groundwater pollution. Besides, laborers at landfills can be exposed to these harmful contaminants leaking from e-waste. E-waste products include computers, television sets, cell phones, printers, scanners, and fax machines.
However, increasing government initiatives creating consumer awareness regarding reusing and refurbishing electrical and electronics materials is expected to provide a positive outlook for e-waste management.
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Rapid Increase in Demand to Cater to Small Equipment Segment Growth
In terms of category, the market is segmented into temperature exchange equipment, screens and monitors, lamps, large equipment, small equipment, and small IT and telecommunication equipment.
The majority of the market share was accounted for by small equipment, followed by large equipment, temperature exchange equipment, screens and monitors, small IT and telecommunication equipment, and the lamps segment, which represented the smallest share. The small equipment segment consists of vacuum cleaners, ventilation equipment, microwaves, electric shavers, trimmers, calculators, radio, cameras, and others. Growing inclination toward technology and advanced electronics is fostering the demand for small equipment. However, the temperature exchange equipment segment is expected to be the fastest-growing segment.
Unrecycled Segment to Dominate Owing to Lack of Consumer Awareness of the Negative Environmental Impact of E-waste
In terms of type, the market is segmented into recycled and unrecycled.
The unrecycled segment is expected to hold a major share in the market, owing to the lack of awareness regarding the detrimental effects of e-waste on the environment. Moreover, the lack of availability of data regarding properly collected and recycled e-waste indicates the management of e-waste outside the authorized collection system.
Asia Pacific E-waste Management Market Size, 2021 (Million Tons)
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The market size in Asia Pacific was 21.76 million tons and registered a favorable growth rate during the forecast period. China is the hub for electrical and electronic equipment manufacturing and consumption. It produces the highest amount of e-waste in Asia Pacific. Additionally, growing government initiatives and active participation in e-waste collection and recycling activities are likely to drive the regional market.
Europe is one of the key regions in terms of e-waste recycling and reusing. Various government initiatives to practice greener and sustainable solutions and reduce the adverse impact of e-waste generation are likely to boost growth. For instance, in 2020, the European Commission launched a new circular economy action plan involving reducing electronic and electrical waste.
North America has stringent regulations and policies for e-waste collection and disposal. In the state of Victoria, it is illegal for e-waste to enter landfill as it contains hazardous substances and must be separated from other waste. The EPA imposes the Victorian Government’s e-waste policy in the state. The presence of major recycling and reprocessing firms in the region is expected to fuel the e-waste management industry growth.
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Latin America is expected to grow considerably, owing to the adoption of latest technologies. It is expected to increase the demand for electronics, further driving the e-waste generation rate. The Middle East & Africa is expected to create opportunities for e-waste recycling, owing to its ability to feed the domestic industries' income through precious metal recovery.
Government Initiatives to Improve the Business
The e-waste management market share is fairly consolidated and competitive, with the presence of regional and international companies. Some of the key players operating in the e-waste management industry are Capital Environment Holdings Limited, ERI, Enviro-Hub Holdings Ltd., Tes, Boliden AB, and Umicore, accounting for major market share in 2021.
An Infographic Representation of E-Waste Management Market
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The report provides a detailed analysis of the market and focuses on crucial aspects, such as leading companies, products, and products. Also, it offers insights into market trends and highlights vital industry developments. In addition to the abovementioned factors, the report encompasses various factors contributing to the market's growth in recent years. It includes historical data & forecasts revenue growth at global, regional, and country levels and analyzes the e-waste management industry's latest market dynamics and opportunities.
Volume (Million Tons)
By Category, Type, and Region
Fortune Business Insights says that the global market size was 49.29 million tons in 2021 and is projected to reach 63.22 million tons by 2029.
In 2021, Asia Pacific stood at 21.76 million tons.
Registering a CAGR of 3.3%, the market will exhibit steady growth during the forecast period (2022-2029).
The unrecycled segment is leading the market during the forecast period.
Stringent regulations imposed by governments is the key factor driving the market.
Capital Environment Holdings Limited, ERI, Enviro-Hub Holdings Ltd., Tes, Boliden AB, and Umicore are the major players present in the market.
Asia Pacific dominated the market in terms of share in 2021.
Growing concerns regarding the detrimental effect of e-waste on the environment shall drive e-waste management adoption.
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