Circular Economy

Mounting e-waste is harming the planet. Here’s how we solve the problem

Electronic waste or e-waste from computers is pictured in a junk shop in Makati City, Philippines.

Most of the world’s electronics are not recycled, posing health and environmental risks. Image: REUTERS/Eloisa Lopez

Callie Babbitt
Associate Professor of Sustainability, Rochester Institute of Technology
Shahana Althaf
Sustainability Scientist, Yale School of the Environment
Our Impact
The Big Picture
Explore and monitor how Circular Economy is affecting economies, industries and global issues
A hand holding a looking glass by a lake
Crowdsource Innovation
Get involved with our crowdsourced digital platform to deliver impact at scale
Stay up to date:

Circular Economy

Have you read?
a junkyard full of electronic waste
Sending electronics to junkyards or landfills wastes an opportunity to recycle valuable materials inside them. Image: Joe Sohm/Visions of America /Getty Images
a researcher takes apart a smartphone to recycle the contents
A researcher takes apart a smartphone to find out what materials are inside. Image: Shahana Althaf
a dissected tablet, demonstrating the utility of recycled electronics
This dissected tablet shows the components inside, each of which were logged, weighed and measured by researchers. Image: Callie Babbitt
Apple's robot which can recycle nine different iPhone models
Apple’s new robot, Daisy, can disassemble nine different iPhone models to recover valuable materials that traditional recyclers cannot. Image: Apple
two charts showing the concentration of different materials like lead and cobalt within the U.S. e-waste stream
Concentration of hazardous (left) and valuable (right) materials within the U.S. e-waste stream. Image: Althaf et al. 2020
Don't miss any update on this topic

Create a free account and access your personalized content collection with our latest publications and analyses.

Sign up for free

License and Republishing

World Economic Forum articles may be republished in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International Public License, and in accordance with our Terms of Use.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author alone and not the World Economic Forum.

Related topics:
Circular EconomyPlastics and the EnvironmentMining and MetalsGlobal Risks
World Economic Forum logo
Global Agenda

The Agenda Weekly

A weekly update of the most important issues driving the global agenda

Subscribe today

You can unsubscribe at any time using the link in our emails. For more details, review our privacy policy.

Aluminium demand will rise 40% by 2030. Here’s how to make it sustainable

Jelena Aleksić and Daniel Boero Vargas

November 28, 2023

About Us



Partners & Members

  • Join Us

Language Editions

Privacy Policy & Terms of Service

© 2023 World Economic Forum