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Discarded minerals in e-waste worth $65 billion in 2016

Discarded minerals in e-waste worth $65 billion in 2016

E-waste, which includes anything with a plug or a battery is the topic of a new United Nations-backed study released recently, according to an article by Karen Graham, published in Digital Journal. Graham says a staggering 44.7 million metric tons (Mt) was generated globally in 2016 — up 3.3 Mt or eight percent from 2014.

Phys.Org is reporting the 44.7 million metric tons is the equivalent of 4.500 Eiffel Towers, or 1.23 million fully loaded 18-wheel 40-ton trucks, according to the report from the UN's International Telecommunication Union, the UN University (UNU) and the International Solid Waste Association.

This pile of e-waste includes refrigerators, televisions, solar panels, mobile phones, and computers, to name just a few of the many plug-ins or battery-operated devices we use. The report also points out that the total of the e-waste included a million tons of chargers alone.

According to the UN study, experts foresee a further 17 percent increase — to 52.2 million metric tons of e-waste by 2021, — the fastest growing part of the world's domestic waste stream. The report also points out a disturbing statistic - Only 20 percent or one-fifth of all that e-waste generated in 2016 was recycled.

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