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Communications of the ACM


Reducing and Eliminating E-Waste

bin of e-waste

Credit: Getty Images

It is hard to imagine a world without electronic devices. From servers, personal computers, and storage devices to smartphones, tablets, and wearable devices, electronic devices drive businesses, entertain and enable consumers to interact with the world, and keep the world's information and physical infrastructure networks running on a 24/7 basis. Not surprisingly, the number of electronic devices in use, particularly those that are connected to a network, continues to grow.

A 2019 Cisco VNI report forecast that on a global basis, there will be 28.5 billion networked devices in use by 2022, up from 18.0 billion in 2017, and 3.6 networked devices per capita by 2022, up from 2.4 per capita in 2017. Further, a December 2019 Deloitte study found that U.S. households own an average of 11 connected devices, including seven devices featuring screens on which to watch content, with expectations that the number of devices will increase further, overall and per person, thanks to the growth of new Internet of Things (IoT) products and applications.


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