“Invisible” e-waste — from disposable vapes to toys and tangles of cables — is piling up and robbing supply chains of valuable materials. A new analysis counts up all the small electronics people often don’t recognize as e-waste, and the numbers are wild.
The weight of all the vapes tossed out annually across the world equals three Brooklyn Bridges, it estimates. Altogether, vapes and other small consumer items considered “invisible” weigh in at 9 billion kilograms (9 million metric tons) a year. That’s like half a million dump trucks worth of electric toothbrushes, ugly holiday sweaters adorned with LEDs, drones, and other small electronics. Lined up bumper to bumper, those trucks would span from Nairobi to Rome.