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Around 60% Europeans Unaware about the Growing Impact of E-waste

An Earth Day Survey by Swappie Highlights Urgent Need for E-waste Education as the World’s Generation of E-waste Rises Five Times Faster than Documented E-waste Recycling1

Helsinki, Finland – Thursday, April 18, 2024: As the world gears up to mark Earth Day, Swappie, Europe’s largest iPhone refurbisher, has unveiled a dire need to educate people about the impact of e-waste. This alarm bell comes as a study by the United Nations reveals that a record 62 million tonnes of e-waste was produced in 2022, up 82% from 2010; on track to rise another 32%, to 82 million tonnes, in 2030.

Swappie did a pan-Europe community survey2 to gauge people’s knowledge and awareness about sustainable habits, carbon footprint and the impact of e-waste on the planet. The result was a startling and urgent need for more awareness across all age groups shedding light on widespread ignorance regarding e-waste and its consequences.

Globally, the annual generation of e-waste is rising by 2.6 million tonnes while the documented recycling rate has dropped from 22.3% in 2022 to 20% in 2030 – as recycling efforts fail to match pace with the monumental growth of e-waste generation worldwide.

The key highlights from the survey are as follows:

Awareness Gap:

  • A staggering 60.33% of respondents were unaware of the projected 82 million metric ton increase in e-waste by 2030, equivalent to discarding 1,000 laptops every second.

Personal Impact on E-Waste:

  • Around 78% of respondents did not know their estimated annual e-waste production.

Knowledge of iPhone Carbon Emissions:

  • 23% correctly identified that a new iPhone emits approximately 82 kg of CO2 in the first year of its life.
  • That leaves around 76% of people that need to be informed about the environmental impact of the smartphones they use.

Concern for the Environment:

  • Despite the lack of e-waste awareness, a majority of respondents expressed significant concern about their carbon footprint and environmental impact.
  • 54% rated their concern as 4 or 5 on a scale of 1-5, indicating high levels of worry about their personal environmental footprint.

Sounding the alarm, Sami Marttinen, Swappie’s CEO said: “These survey findings underscore the critical importance of raising awareness about e-waste and its detrimental effects on our planet. It is evident that there is a strong desire among consumers to make more informed choices to mitigate their impact on the environment – but the buck doesn’t stop here. We, at Swappie, pledge to inform more and more people about e-waste and how every person can contribute in making the world a better place.”

Swappie remains committed to environmental education and sustainability, aiming to empower individuals with knowledge to combat e-waste and reduce carbon emissions. As part of its Earth Day initiatives, Swappie will be launching educational campaigns and resources to help individuals better understand and address the challenges posed by e-waste.

  1. The survey was carried out via email across the entire Swappie community in different markets. Questions about e-waste, carbon footprint and individual impact were asked. ↩︎
  2. The global E-waste Monitor 2024 – Electronic Waste Rising Five Times Faster than Documented E-waste Recycling: UN ↩︎

About Swappie

Swappie, Europe’s largest iPhone refurbisher, is the leading end-to-end online destination for selling and buying refurbished smartphones. Its mission is to give people a way to upgrade their phones that is high quality, affordable and environmentally friendly. Swappie currently operates across Europe, including Finland, Sweden, Italy and Germany. The company grew in 2022 with sales of €208M, and since its inception in August 2016, Swappie has become one of the most innovative and fast-growing companies in Europe, expanding its team to over 800 and raising $171M (€149M) from investors to date.

For more information visit: www.swappie.com 

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