The transboundary movement of e-waste topic has found its way into the public perception via various alarming reports. However, the facts on the quantities and trade routes have not yet been researched at a global level. The newly published transboundary E-waste Flows Monitor quantified that 5.1 Mt (just below 10 percent of the total amount of global e-waste, 53.6 Mt) crossed country borders in 2019.
To better understand the implication of transboundary movement, this study categorizes transboundary movement of e-waste into controlled and uncontrolled movements and also considers both the receiving and sending regions. Of the 5.1 Mt, 1.8 Mt of the transboundary movement is shipped in a controlled manner, and 3.3 Mt of the transboundary movement is shipped in an uncontrolled manner, as used-EEE or e-waste may favor illegal movements and which poses a threat to managing e-waste.
This study is part of the E-waste Monitors series (ewastemonitor.info), which has been developed since 2014 by the Sustainable Cycles (SCYCLE) Programme – which has just completed its transition from UNU to UNITAR. SCYCLE and its closest partners, such as ITU, UNIDO, and UNEP, follow international guidelines on e-waste statistics, containing the most applied classifications as well as correspondence tables of those classifications.