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Valuable But Toxic: World’s E-waste Goes to Waste

April 20, 2015

Valuable But Toxic: World’s E-waste Goes to Waste

The United States and China produce the most e-waste overall – 32 percent of the world’s total. But the top per capita e-waste producers are the wealthy nations of northern and western Europe, the top five being Norway, Switzerland, Iceland, Denmark, and the United Kingdom.

In 2014, people worldwide discarded all but a fraction of an estimated 41.8 million metric tonnes of electrical and electronic products – mostly end-of-life kitchen, laundry and bathroom equipment like microwave ovens, washing machines and dishwashers.

And the volume of e-waste is expected to rise by 21 percent to 50 million metric tonnes (Mt) in 2018.

The new figures were released Sunday in the Global E-Waste Monitor 2014, a report compiled by the United Nations University, the UN’s think tank.

UN Under-Secretary-General David Malone, rector of UNU, said, “Worldwide, e-waste constitutes a valuable ‘urban mine’ – a large potential reservoir of recyclable materials. At the same time, the hazardous content of e-waste constitutes a ‘toxic mine’ that must be managed with extreme care.”

Read more at Environment News Service.

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