Over 48 Million Tons Of Gadgets Are Thrown Away Each Year [Report]

In the Trash?

The flip-side to the fetishistic hankering over shiny new things is the staggering number of older gadgets that are thrown away each year.

According to new data released by the Solving the E-Waste Problem Initiative (Step), in 2012 this electronic waste added up to a staggering 48.9 million tons.

This included everything from smartphones, tablets and computers, to TVs, microwaves and fridges: making the total amount of e-waste 11 times heavier than the Great Pyramid of Giza — or 200 Empire State Buildings.

And that’s not all: Step is predicting that the number will only continue to rise over the coming years — reaching an estimated 60 million tons by 2017.

Step has produced a world map on a country by country basis, but you can do your part to help counter the problem on an individual basis by either reusing, redistributing, or properly recycling your old tech products.

“We cannot possibly manage complex, transboundary e-waste flows until we have a better understanding of the quantities involved and the destinations,” says Joel Clark, Professor of Materials Systems and Engineering Systems at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). “This research is an important first step in that direction.”