Statistics on the Management of Used and End-of-Life Electronics
- 40% of consumer electronics were recycled
- 438 million new consumer electronics were sold;
- 5 million tons of electronics were in storage;
- 2.37 million tons of electronics were ready for end-of-life management; and
- 25% of these tons were collected for recycling
Consumer electronics including TVs and other video equipment, computers, assorted peripherals, audio equipment, and phones comprise approximately one to two percent of the municipal solid waste stream, as tracked in the Advancing Sustainable Materials Management: Facts and Figures 2013, but they garner a great deal of interest for several reasons:
- Rapid growth and change in this product sector leading to a growing number of products needing appropriate end-of-life management;
- The intensive energy and diverse material inputs that go into manufacturing electronics represent a high degree of embodied energy and scarce resources;
- The presence of substances of concern in some electronics that merits greater consideration for safe end-of-life management; and
- The opportunities for resource recovery through improved collection and recycling.
To better track the sales, use, storage, collection, and disposal of electronics, EPA conducted an analysis of select electronic products from residential and commercial/institutional users:
|Computer||Televisions||Hard Copy Devices||Mobile Devices|
|cathode ray tubes (CRTs)
The key findings of the analysis are summarized below. Detailed information on the analysis is provided in the report Electronics Waste Management in the United States Through 2009.
Key Findings on the Management of Select Electronic Products in the US in 2009
- Sales of new electronic products are driving increases in use, storage and end-of-life management of electronics. We estimate that 438 million electronic products were sold in 2009, which represents a doubling of sales from 1997, driven by a nine-fold increase in mobile device sales.
- Estimated product weights have all decreased over the years as products have become smaller and lighter, except for flat panel TVs which have increased in weight as screen size has increased.
- An estimated five million short tons of products were in storage in 2009, with CRTs (monitors & TVs) being stored at the highest rates.
- Residential households store 5 times more computer products (by weight) than commercial establishments.
- Approximately 2.37 million short tons of electronics were ready for end-of-life management, representing an increase of more than 120% compared to 1999.
- CRTs (TVs and monitors) comprise nearly half (47%) of all electronics ready for end-of-life management.
- Approximately 141 million mobile devices were ready for end-of-life management in 2009, more than any other type of product, yet by weight, they represent less than 1% of discarded electronics.
- 25% of electronics were collected for recycling, with computers collected at the highest rate (38%).
|Management of Used and End-Of-Life Electronics in 2009|
|Ready for End-of-Life Management
(million of units)
(million of units)
|Collected for Recycling
(million of units)
|Rate of Collection for Recycling
Details on the methodology, data sources, assumptions, and calculations underlying the information summarized above are available in the following report and model:
- Electronics Waste Management in the United States Through 2009 (PDF) (49 pp, 782K, about PDF) November 2010
- Executive Summary: Electronics Waste Management in the United States Facts and Figures 2009 (PDF) November 2010 (8 pp, 509K, about PDF)
Previous Reports and Models
- Electronics Waste Management in the United States: Approach One; Final (PDF) (56 pp, 380K, about PDF) July 2008
- Approach 1: Model 1 (Excel) (720K)
- Management of Electronic Waste in the United States: Approach 2; Draft Final (PDF) (84 pp, 735K, about PDF) April 2007
- Approach 2: Model 2 (Excel) (15MB) large file; be patient