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Report shows staggering amount of E-waste created in 2016

Cheryl Santa Maria
Digital Reporter

Thursday, June 14, 2018, 3:14 PM - Humans generate a staggering amount of e-waste, according to a December 2017 report backed by the United Nations.

In 2016, for example, 44.7 million metric tonnes of e-waste were generated globally, a weight that's equivalent to about 4,500 Eiffel towers. That number is steadily rising, and it's likely to continue to rise as prices the for electronics fall and the availability of products increases.

China is the worst offender on the list, generating 7211 kilotonnes (kt) of waste. The United States isn't far behind at 6,295 kt. According to National Geographic, that's like every American family throwing out the equivalent of 400 iPhones a year.

Canada is much farther down on the list, but still generates a significant amount of trash at 724 kt.

Small equipment, including mobile phones and printers, are the most commonly-discarded items.

Source: Global E-waste Monitor, 2017

According to the report, only about 20% of the world's e-waste was properly recycled, despite the fact that 66 per cent of the global population is covered by e-waste legislation which require the safe disposal.

The remaining 80 per cent was shipped overseas to other, often poorer, countries for disposal, brought to a landfill or simply abandoned.

This isn't just bad for the environment.

E-waste contains precious metals, like gold, silver, copper, platinum and palladium, all of which can be recycled. It's estimated that €55 billion in these recyclable materials were wasted last year due to improper disposal. 

The complete Global E-Waste Monitor report can be found online.


Scrap metal recycling plants will take just about anything, from appliances to car parts.

All you need to do is drop your items off at the plants and they get processed right at the facility. Everything is weighed, processed and paid for, eliminating the worry about separating it or wondering what you should do with it.


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