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Issue 46
, 2013
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Grim forecast for e-waste as technology trash to top 65m tons by 2017

Source: The Independent, Date: , 2013

They are on our person, in our homes and in our workplaces, many of them harbouring heavy metals and toxic materials which are dangerous to people and the environment unless they are properly recycled.Yet the soaring international demand for electric and electronic products is fuelling a global rise in e-waste, which is set to reach 65.4 million tons annually by 2017.

The grim forecast is from a new study released today, which has mapped more than 180 countries.It reveals that, in only five years, the yearly amount of e-waste will rise 33 per cent from the 49 million tons of used electrical and electronic items generated last year.

The figure is based on data from a new world map created by the Solving the E-Waste Problem (StEP) initiative, a coalition of UN organisations, industry, governments, NGOs and science bodies.It has looked at the amount of electrical and electronic equipment sold around the world and the amount of waste electrical and electronic equipment (Weee) generated.Worldwide, the US is the worst offender with 9.4 million tons of e‑waste each year, with some 26,500 tons being sent to poorer countries each year.

Mobile phones form the bulk of the 14 million used electronic products exported, with most used phones destined for Hong Kong, and countries in Latin America and the Caribbean. Old computers are generally sent to Asian countries, while heavy items such as TVs and computer monitors end up in places such as Mexico, Venezuela, Paraguay and China.

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