Electronic Waste Worth 34 Billion Pounds Piling up in 'Toxic Mine', Warns UN Report
19th April 2015
Very little of the discarded electrical equipment, which includes gold and silver, is being recycled - and Britain is among the worst offenders
Gold worth more than £7bn is being thrown away amid the 42 million tons of electronic and electrical equipment discarded by consumers each year, according to United Nations experts.
A report by the United Nations University (UNU) reveals that the amount of “e-waste” generated globally is increasing by two million tons a year and will reach 50 megatons by 2018 – with Britons among the planet’s biggest generators of hi-tech junk.The study warns that less than 16 per cent of global e-waste is being diverted from landfill into recycling and reuse – representing the loss of an “urban mine” of potentially recyclable materials worth more than £34bn.
Among the resources being lost annually, as millions of items from mobile phones to fridges are inadequately disposed of, are 300 tons of gold (equivalent to more than a 10th of global production in 2013) as well as 1,000 tons of silver worth £400m and 16 megatons of steel with a value of £6.5bn.
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