U.S remains biggest producer of e-waste followed by China


A possible 65.4 million tonnes of e-waste could wreak havoc in landfills by 2017.

The U.S remains the world’s largest e-waste polluter closely followed by China, according to a U.N think tank study.

E-Waste- which includes phones, televisions, laptops and computers, poses danger to humans and the environment alike due to lead, mercury and other poisonous toxins present in batteries. 

The StEP initiative reports the U.S dumped more than 9.4 million metric tons of e-waste in 2012, more than 2 million metric tons more than its economic rival. Per Capita, each person in the U.S is responsible for 30 kilograms (66 pounds) compared to the global average of 7 kilograms (15 pounds) per person. 

However, Yahoo! says China could soon catch up due to its top position in the electrical goods market at 11.1 million metric tons. According to StEP, electronic waste will become worse as it could grow by a third to 65.4 million tonnes by 2017 threatening to have devastating effects on the environment.

StEP secretariat Ruediger Kuehr says developing countries such as Ghana and South Africa can also be blamed for the growing epidemic.

"There is a hunger of humankind for technology that makes our lives easier. It's not only the communication technologies but also medical devices, washing machines and e-toys that are very popular around Christmas time."

The e-waste world map can be viewed here.

Source: StEP Initiative via Yahoo! | Image via Eco News

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42 Comments

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I have no problem giving my e-waste stuff to the proper recyclers but I do have a problem when they try to charge me to do so when I know they're going to make money on it so it a BIG get stuffed from me until e-waste recycling is free just like plastic or cans or paper

True but keep in mind that China has the largest population and the U.S. has the third largest population. So a better stat would be the amount of e-waste per person or something like that. Being that the U.S. is suppose to be an advanced nation you think we would be good at recycling. Unfortunately too many people do not care and corporations are greedy. Other nations and their people are just the same but have a smaller population. They are not any better. Well... Statistically they are better but that is because they have smaller populations or some nations are poor and cannot afford to buy lots of electronics. Recycling should definitely be every nations priority and I do expect better.

I'm not surprised, it's absolutely ridiculous the amount of perfectly good stuff we throw away just because there is a shiny new model every year or because you can buy new printers cheaper than ink cartridges.

TRC said,
I'm not surprised, it's absolutely ridiculous the amount of perfectly good stuff we throw away just because there is a shiny new model every year or because you can buy new printers cheaper than ink cartridges.

I agree with you but blame it on greedy corporations who are selling printer cheaper than ink cartridge. All new gadgets which can't be repair anymore or upgraded. Consumer is not the only one who is at fault here.

I try to recycle e-waste, every single pc but right now I have a whole box built up cause my locality isn't doing a mass collection as often.

Izlude said,
Couldn't we just catapult bundles of waste into volcanoes?

Given enough waste would that create a reaction in the volcano? It may look simple but isn't a volcano a pretty sensitive location?

i was thinking for quite some time now ... arent used devices (like a 2 year old android phone) being send and resold in places like africa, where people (probably) cant afford new and high end stuff?

if its not happening, it might be a good idea to start happening

A lot of countries specifically ban the import of used hardware because they don't want to be a dumping ground for everyone else's trash. We had to jump through a bunch of hoops to ship used servers that were going to be used in another country.

Afaik most recycling is useless because yes, you get back plastic, copper, etc. which can all be reused, but you don't get back any of the rare earth metals.

I think a lot of it has to do with getting back the materials that take a lot of energy and resources to mine and create in the first place, like lead, copper, aluminum, etc..

Those processes create a lot of toxic pollution themselves. So, it's not pointless.

thomastmc said,
I think a lot of it has to do with getting back the materials that take a lot of energy and resources to mine and create in the first place, like lead, copper, aluminum, etc..

Those processes create a lot of toxic pollution themselves. So, it's not pointless.


I didn't mean that, what I mean is, the supply or raw rare earth metals in the US has reached record lows, they're pretty much only found in china now and they will run out one day. If you can't extract them from e-waste, then unless a replacement is found, recycling copper etc. wouldn't be of any use anyway.

That is a good point. I still think we should keep trying to recycle as much lead, copper, aluminum, etc. as we can until there isn't a point to using as much of those materials, if that day ever actually does arrive.

Blame the people in Marketing/Advertising who brainwashed consumers into thinking they aren't hip unless they have the latest and greatest of everything. The old stuff ends up somewhere.

Rohdekill said,
Blame the people in Marketing/Advertising who brainwashed consumers into thinking they aren't hip unless they have the latest and greatest of everything. The old stuff ends up somewhere.

No, we should be blaming the brainwashed consumers themselves for not having half a brain enough to not let themselves get brainwashed.

Marketing and advetising are not to blame. Things work like that because of the economy, if we stop consuming, the economic system crash. Until we do not rethink the economic system, the planet will suffer a lot. And our greed is behind all this so I don't think it will stop anytime soon unfortunatly.

Sem XL said,
then in a thousand years it will come back and stink up the place

Eh, in a 1,000 years we likely have colonized a few other planets

AndyD said,

Eh, in a 1,000 years we likely have colonized a few other planets

I sincerely couldn't agree with you more. I watched "Evacuating the Earth" last night on NatGeo and was riveted

AndyD said,

Eh, in a 1,000 years we likely have colonized a few other planets

... and shooting garbage into space from those planets, too.

i doubt recycling technology will ever be able to catch up with our waste-making technologies.

AndyD said,

Eh, in a 1,000 years we likely have colonized a few other planets

So it's ok to continue littering all over this one until then, isn't it?

thomastmc said,
One of the major issues with e-waste is that a lot of non-renewable resources like lead, aluminum, and copper end up going in the trash.

In 1000 years we'll mine the landfills of old.

Picture in article is wrong.

The Internet is not a big truck, it's not something you just dump something on. It's a series of tubes.

From TFA: "E-Waste- which includes phones, televisions, laptops and computers, poses danger to humans and the environment alike due to lead, mercury and other poisonous toxins present in batteries. "