Survey of exports of used electronics

med No Comments

In Denmark, as well as abroad, exports of used electronics are recorded in the national statistics in line with exports of new electronics. The statistics do not initially distinguish between used and new products. This project investigates whether it is possible to calculate the amount of used electronics exported through statistical analysis.

The project was carried out in collaboration with PlanMiljø for the Danish Environmental Protection Agency as part of Waste from Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE).

Main results

Statistical analyses have been conducted using the so-called 'fractile method', which is based on a basic assumption that the unit price of the exported quantity of new products is normally distributed around a unit price which is at a higher level than (the also normally distributed) unit price of exported used equipment within the same product group. The assumption is illustrated in the histogram, and in the analysis, categorising all products with a price below the 20% quartile for used has been chosen.

The analysis has included the product groups which (also internationally) are thought to constitute the most important part of exported used electronics, namely the following of the 10 categories of the WEEE Directive: ‘Large Home Appliances’, ‘IT and Telecommunications Equipment’ and ‘Consumer Equipment and Photovoltaic Equipment’.

Based on this method, exports of used equipment within these three categories are calculated at 4,600 tonnes/year. However, the analysis is subject to a number of significant uncertainties, which are explained in the report. Most of the used electronics are sold in Europe, while the largest recipient outside Europe is Lebanon, followed by the Ivory Coast.

The study is commissioned by the Ministry of Environment and Food of Denmark.


Højbjerre Brauer Schultz (2016): "Kortlægning af eksport af brugt elektronik"