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Electronic waste poses the greatest threat to the planet says the Global Recycling Foundation

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Electronic waste should now be regarded as the greatest threat to our planet, according to the Global Recycling Foundation.

The United Nations has already warned that the current 53 million tonnes of e-waste generated every year will more than double by 2050 making it the fastest growing waste stream in the world.

The founding president of the Global Recycling Foundation, Ranjit Baxi, said: "It may already be too late to stem the tide of the millions of discarded smart phones and other electronic waste from fridges and TVs to microwaves and PC monitors.

"It is not just the items themselves but the irreplaceable precious metals and dangerous components like lithium-ion batteries, cadmium, lead and mercury, flame retardant chemicals and corrosive acid that are used in their manufacture. It amounts to so much toxic waste which if not professionally recycled ends up on waste dumps," he warned.

According to the foundation, thousands of containers of plastic and electronic waste are shipped annually around the world to countries which are already incapable of handling the mountains of waste arriving in their ports every year.