A UN-backed report has revealed the yearly production of end-of-life electronics worldwide is expected to increase by a third by 2017.
The Solving the E-waste Problem (StEP) initiative, based at the United Nations University in Germany, said this would equate to 65.4 million tonnes annually.
A map of comparable annual data from 184 countries showed the estimated amount of waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) reached 48.9 million tonnes last year.
It revealed on average each person in the UK produces 21.82kg of WEEE a year, compared to the world average of 7kg.
Margaret Bates, professor of sustainable wastes management at the University of Northampton, said: “This is a valuable contribution to helping us to understand the e-waste problem, it brings together information from a range of sources in one place and should reduce duplication and repetition in studies investigating the problem and thereby enable us to focus on the solution.
“Hopefully the more we know about volumes and destinations the greater the level of awareness from consumers who will then ensure that all of their end of life EEE is dealt with responsibly.”
Ruediger Kuehr, executive secretary for StEP, 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.”