The aim of this new media documentary is to draw attention to the damage done by glorified electronic devices and consumer culture to nature. While e-waste is photographed as “man-made wonders” in the study, the fate of these devices, which turned into e-waste after their useful life, was questioned on the other side of the coin.

From the millions of tons of e-waste generated worldwide, only 20% of it can be collected and recycled. The recycling of many informatics, telecommunications, and consumer devices such as mobile phones and computers has become a global issue.

Why has electronic waste become a growing problem?

All electrical and electronic goods in use, such as television, monitor, computer, mobile phone, wireless telephone, information and telecommunication devices, lighting devices, small household appliances, electrical toys, need to be recycled after their useful life is completed.

Besides everyday household and business use, EEE are becoming increasingly used in transport, health, security systems, and generators of energy, such as photovoltaics. Traditional products, such as clothes and furniture, are often equipped with electrical components, and consequently are increasingly contributing to the global e-waste generated. More and more EEE is also employed in the expanding sector of the Internet of Things (IoT), such as sensors or devices pertaining to the concept of the “smart home” or “smart cities” (GEM, 2020)

Global E-waste Amount by Years (Million Tons)






Many different natural resources must be used for the production of electronic devices.

E-waste recycling limits the need for underground mines for the production of electronic gadgets and reduces the destruction of natural areas by mines.


Water Usage in Microchip Production

A standard microchip manufacturing facility consumes approximately four million gallons of ultrapure water per day. This amount of water spent is equal to the daily water consumption of 66.410 people in Turkey. There are more than 500 microchip factories in the world. The daily water consumption of these factories is more than the daily water consumption of 33 million people.

The “crisis” in microchip production is directly related to water scarcity due to climate change.

Water Usage
Raw Materıal

Recycling Instead of Mining

To obtain 1 kg of iron, 200kg of metal needs to be processed, while processing 2 kg of e-waste is sufficient. 

To obtain1 kg of copper, 200kg of metal needs to be processed, while 13 kg of e-waste is sufficient.

To obtain 1 kg of gold, 240.000.000 kg of metal needs to be processed, while processing 100.000 kg of e-waste is sufficient.

Limited Amount of Recycling

The number of facilities that can recycle critical e-waste such as the Cathode Ray Tube (CRT) and mercury lamps used in conventional television and computer monitors is limited.

Only five smelter facilities in the world can recycle printed circuit boards in accordance with international standards.


Hazardous Waste

Electronic Waste Management

Four Methods

Four different methods are generally applied in electronic waste management. In the methods carried out in accordance with the standards, the aim is to minimize the harmful environmental effects of the recycling process. Others might cause negative effects on human health and the environment.

Registered Global e-Waste


Global amount of e-waste recorded and properly recycled

E-waste Transported Overseas


93% of the e-waste taken out of the United States is sent to the Asian continent, and the remaining 7% to Canada and Mexico.


From Rich Countries to Poor Countries


77% of used electronic devices imported by Nigeria are sent from Europe. Even though most of these devices appear as used electronic devices in official records, the vast majority of these devices brought into the country are e-waste.


Global E-Waste Routes

Recycling of the E-Waste Transported from America and Europe to Africa

As a result of the consumption culture that constantly encourages the purchase of new electronic devices, rich countries in North America and Europe faced mountains of electronic waste and found the solution to send these wastes to poor countries. Electronic waste, which is sent to African and Far East countries, most of it unregistered, is tried to be recycled under non-standard and unhealthy conditions.



Ergin Şafak Dikmen (Project Coordinator)
Esra Özgür (Project Assistant)


First Map: Forti V., Baldé C.P., Kuehr R., Bel G. The Global E-waste Monitor 2020: Quantities, flows and the circular economy potential. United Nations University (UNU)/United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) – co-hosted SCYCLE Programme, International Telecommunication Union (ITU) & International Solid Waste Association (ISWA), Bonn/Geneva/Rotterdam.
Second Map: C.P. Baldé, E. D’Angelo, V. Luda O. Deubzer, and R. Kuehr (2022), Global Transboundary E-waste Flows Monitor – 2022, United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR), Bonn, Germany.
Photograph 1: Ergin Şafak Dikmen (2022), Bolu Kıbrısçık.
Photograph 2: Oğuzhan Burak (2022), İlef Photography Studio – Ankara.
Pictogram: Interactive Video by tulpahn from
Photograph 3: Ergin Şafak Dikmen (2022), Bolu Kıbrısçık.
Photograph 4: Ergin Şafak Dikmen (2022), Bolu Kıbrısçık.
Photograph 4: Ergin Şafak Dikmen (2022), Bolu Kıbrısçık.
Photograph 5: Muntaka Chasant (2019), Wikimedia – CC.,_Ghana_-_September_2019.jpg
Photograph 6: Marlenenapoli (2011), Wikimedia – CC.
Animation 1: Esra Özgür, Illustration: UNU/UNITAR SCYCLE – Nienke Haccoû. Texts and visuals are adapted from the report entitled “The Global E-waste Monitor 2020”. For the report:
Photograph 7: Muntaka Chasant (2019), Wikimedia- CC.,_Ghana_2019.jpg
Photograph 8: Jcaravanos (2010), Wikimedia – CC.
Interface Design: Ergin Şafak Dikmen
360 Photograph / Video: Ergin Şafak Dikmen (2022), Ankara University Communication Faculty Studios & Bolu Kıbrısçık
360 VR Editing: Esra Özgür


E-waste Awareness Studies

360° E-Waste (Experimental Movie)

This study is an experimental video made to draw attention to electronic waste.

You can watch this interactive video developed for virtual reality platforms. You can also experience the video via computers or with mobile phone by turning the device in different directions.

Dark Side of Information Technology: Electronic Waste (E. Şafak Dikmen )

9-10 June 2022 – Istanbul Yeni Yüzyıl University Communication Faculty Communication Congress
in the New Century, “Dark Side of Information Technology: Electronic Waste:”

Congress program book: