UN study: Electrical waste up by third by 2017

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Associated Press

Posted on December 15, 2013 at 3:32 AM

Updated Sunday, Dec 15 at 3:36 AM

BERLIN (AP) — A U.N. study is calling attention to growing concerns about E-waste.

The study says a global mountain of refrigerators, cellphones, TV sets and other electrical waste disposed of annually is expected to grow by a third by 2017.

E-waste can pose a big problem because it often contains substances that are harmful, though some of it can be profitably recycled.

The U.S. dumped the most last year but China is catching up, evidenced by the fact that it had the highest volume of electrical goods put on the market last year with 11.1 million metric tons. The U.S. had about 10 million metric tons.

Taken together, developing and emerging countries already produce as much e-waste as the developed world.

The authors of the study called for better monitoring of e-waste exports, saying lack of consistent categories makes it hard to formulate effective rules.

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