E-WASTE CAN BE TOXIC, IS NOT BIODEGRADABLE, AND ACCUMULATES IN SOIL, AIR, WATER AND LIVING THINGS.
In 2018, an estimated 50 million metric tons of e-waste were generated globally. The U.S. collects approximately 22% of its e-waste.
World Economic Forum, 2019
International Telecommunication Union, 2017
• It is estimated that there are 3.5 billion smartphones, 1 billion computers, 5 billion to 7 billion other connected devices and 45 billion servers worldwide. The manufacture of a computer requires 240 kg of fossil fuels, 22 kg of chemicals, 1.5 t of water and numerous precious (gold and platinum) or rare earth minerals (tantalum, lanthanum, neodymium, yttrium) as well as those which are dangerous for the environment (lead, bromine, arsenic, chlorine, mercury and cadmium).1,2
• Globally, the average number of devices and connections per capita will grow from 2.4 in 2017 to 3.6 by 2023. The average per capita numbers for the U.S. and Canada are 13.6 and 11, respectively.3
• The contribution of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) to greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions could grow from roughly 1.6% in 2007 to over 14% of the 2016-level worldwide GHG emissions by 2040.4 In comparison, the combined pulp, paper and print sector is one of the lowest industrial emitters at 0.8% of the world’s GHG emissions. 5
• Worldwide in 2019, the number of emails sent and received per day totaled over 293 billion.6 With each email estimated to release .000001 metric tons of C02, total CO2 generated by emails globally is about 107 million metric tons of CO2 per year7 or the amount of CO2 produced annually by 23 million cars.8
• In 2018, data centers in the U.S. consumed almost 2% of total U.S. electricity consumption. Large amounts of water are also required to operate data centers for space cooling and indirectly to produce electricity since most forms of electricity production use significant amounts of water.9
• A study by Two Sides found that half the leading Fortune 500 telecommunications companies, banks and utilities were making unsubstantiated claims about the environmental benefits of electronic billing. In response, Two Sides initiated a campaign to educate senior executives on the sustainability of print and paper and to encourage them to abandon misleading environmental claims. As of July 2020, 129 North American companies and over 500 globally have removed or changed inaccurate anti-paper claims.
1 Statista, 2020
2 L’Agence de l’Environnement et de la Maîtrise de l’Énergie, France, 2017
3 Cisco, 2017
4 Belkhir and Elmeligi, 2018
5 Navigant, 2019
6 Radicati Group, 2019
7 OVO Energy, 2019
8 U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), 2018
9 Siddik et al., 2019
10 Two Sides North America, 2020