That’s rubbish: Mountain of electrical waste dumped reaches record peak

A record amount of electrical and electronic waste hit the rubbish tips in 2014, with the biggest per-capita tallies in countries that pride themselves on environmental consciousness, a report said Sunday. Last year, 41.8 million tonnes of so-called e-waste - mostly fridges, washing machines and other domestic appliances at the end of their life - was dumped, it said. That’s the equivalent of 1.15 million heavy trucks, forming a line 14,300 miles long, according to the report, compiled by the United Nations University, the UN’s educational and research branch. Less than one-sixth of all e-waste was properly recycled, it said.

Worldwide, e-waste constitutes a valuable ‘urban mine’ - a large potential reservoir of recyclable materials.

UN Under Secretary-General David Malone

In 2013, the e-waste total was 39.8 million tonnes – and on present trends, the 50-million-tonne mark could be reached in 2018. Topping the list for per-capita waste last year was Norway, with 28.4 kilograms per inhabitant. The region with the lowest amount of e-waste per inhabitant was Africa, with 1.7 kilos per person. It generated a total of 1.9 million tonnes of waste. In volume terms, the most waste was generated in the United States and China, which together accounted for 32 percent of the world’s total, followed by Japan, Germany and India.