Electronic Waste and the Circular Economy Contents

Appendix 1: UK E-waste in numbers

Table 1: UK E-waste in numbers - data gaps mean that number do not add up

382 383

1,714,000 tonnes

Of electronics and electrical equipment (EEE) purchased in 2019 by households and businesses. This has fluctuated but was 1,743,505 tonnes in 2008 when items were generally heavier.

23.9 kg

Of E-waste generated per person in the UK.

505,445 tonnes

Of waste electronic and electrical equipment officially collected by the Waste Electrical sector in 2019. Down from a peak of 589,850 tonnes in 2016.

155,000 tonnes

Thrown away in domestic bins and being incinerated or landfilled in 2017

145,000 tonnes

Of commercial electrical waste thrown away in skips with no evidence that is recycled in 2017

190,000 tonnes equivalent to 527 million

Of small old unused electronical items hoarded by UK Households

32,000 – 209,000 tonnes

Of E-waste illegally exported from the UK to countries like Nigeria, Ghana and India. This includes items officially collected at local authority sites.


average old, unused small electronics hoarded by each UK household.

140 million, enough to go around the earth 5 times

Cables held in people’s home across the UK

159,000 bikes, 12,000 playground swings, 5 million life-saving defibrillators

Could be made from the old laptops currently hoarded across the UK

2.5%383 – 10%384

Estimated amount of Electronics that are re-used by others.

Sources: Material Focus, Electrical waste–challenges and opportunities, 16 July 2020; Jim Puckett, Oral Evidence to EAC, 25 June 2020, Q74; Environment Agency, Statistical Data Set: Waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) in the UK, June 2020

382 WEEE Scheme Forum, Written evidence to EAC, (ELE0025), p 10.

383 Libby Peake, Green Alliance, Written evidence to EAC, (EWa0006)

Published: 26 November 2020 Site information    Accessibility statement