E-waste Data analysis

When researching about e-waste I realised the importance of this issue in todays world. Although I have heard of it, i didn’t really know the impact it has and how each person contributes to this problem. I looked into different sources for numbers and data, and it was very hard to find updated information. Most of the data I found was from 2001-2010, which for me seemed very old and I was interested in what was currently happening, how much e-waste we are producing and how much it varies according to countries. Due to this my major source of information was the Global E-waste Monitor of 2014 by the Institute of Advanced Study of Sustainability.

This was probably my favourite part, looking for the data, I used to love maths at school so being able to join design and mathematics its a true pleasure. I enjoy looking at numbers, comparing them and making sense of the information they want to communicate. To do this I created the following chart with the key points that interested me from the Global E-waste monitor.

data ewaste

I was shocked to find out that the world produced 41.8mT of e-waste in 2014, and I wanted to know where it all came from so I looked at the data of each of the continents and analysed the total e-waste production in 2014. I also wanted to know what was the impact of 1 person in the production of that e-waste because I was intrigued to know how much i was producing a year. The idea of finding how many kg per inhabitant of e-waste is being produced by continent seemed fascinating for me, and also shocking. If we look at Asia, this is the continent that produced the most amount of e-waste in 2014, with a total of 16mT. However, if we breakdown that information, asians are only producing 3.7kg/inhabitant of e-waste, whereas europeans are producing 15.6kg/inh. The problem is that there are so many asians that it adds up to a huge amount, but if you look at each person it is not that much. Moreover, I wanted to know how much of the e-waste we were producing was being recycled and at the beginning the numbers didn’t make much sense, I couldn’t visualise it so I knew this could be a good way of tackling the data for my exhibition.

After collecting the information, its important to comprehend it, so I created this very simple graphs that helped me get a picture of the numbers I was looking at to start brainstorming ideas for the exhibition.

Ewaste by continent

Ewaste by inhabitantEwaste recycledEwaste vs recyclingEwaste recycle per person


United Nations University, Institute of the Advanced Study of Sustainability (2014) ‘The Global e-waste Monitor’. Available at: http://i.unu.edu/media/unu.edu/news/52624/UNU-1stGlobal-E-Waste-Monitor-2014-small.pdf (Accessed: 20 February 2016).


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