If we continue to consume and discard at the current rate, the United Nations University (UNU) predicts an increase of up to 120 million tons in the next 30 years.
2. How much of what we produce is recycled?
Only 20 percent of our e-waste is formally recycled.
According to a new report by the UN and supported by the World Economic Forum and World Business Council for Sustainable Development, millions of people around the world work in the informal e-waste sector.
Given the toxins in electronic waste, this often has negative health implications.
3. What happens to the remaining 80 percent?
Some of it ends up in landfill, which leads to toxins leaching into the environment. Some is incinerated, but this generates emissions.
4. Which countries generate most e-waste?
An earlier UNU study found that the US and China produced the most electronic waste in 2016, with 7.2 and 6.3 million tons respectively. It classified e-waste as discarded products with a battery or a plug.
Next came Japan with 2.1 million tons.
5. How valuable is e-waste?
It's valuable. Experts say a ton of e-waste contains as many as 100 times more gold than a ton of gold ore.
The estimated material value of our current e-waste is more than $62.5 billion (€55 million) annually.