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.
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.
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).