World volumes of WEEE expect to increase by one third by 2017 says UN


A United Nations report has predicted that the volume of end-of-life electronics will jump by one third to 65.4 million tonnes by 2017.

Data compiled by the Solving the E-Waste Problem (StEP) Initiative, which comprises UN organisations, industry, governments, non-government and science organisations, has enabled them to produce a map from showing the annual consumption of electronic goods and also the waste from 184 countries.


At present, 48.9 million tonnes of used electrical goods was produced last year, which is an average of 7kg for each of the planet’s 7 billion people.

Based on current trends, this will have reached 65.4 million tonnes by 2017.

The United States and China were the worst offenders, according to the data from the map.

While China put 11.1 million tonnes of electrical goods on the market and the US 10 million tonnes, the US generated 9.4 million tonnes of electrical waste and China the world’s second highest waste total of 7.3 million tonnes.

StEP Initiative executive secretary Ruediger Kuehr said: “Although there is ample information about the negative environmental and health impacts of primitive e-waste recycling methods, the lack of comprehensive data has made it hard to grasp the full magnitude of the problem.

“We believe that this constantly updated, map-linked database showing e-waste volume by country together with legal texts will help lead to better awareness and policy making at the public and private levels.”