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Norwegians 'worst' for dumping electrical waste

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Norwegians 'worst' for dumping electrical waste
E-waste. Photo: JohnJMatlock/Flickr
12:13 CEST+02:00
Norwegians threw away more electrical waste per head last year than the citizens of anyone other country in the world, according new UN report.
Norwegians last year disposed of 28.4 kilograms of e-waste on average, the report from the United Nations University revealed on Sunday, almost a third more per head than people in the supposedly wasteful United States. 
 
A record amount of electrical and electronic waste hit the rubbish tips in 2014, the report revealed, with a total 41.8m tonnes of so-called e-waste, mostly old fridges and washing machines, hitting rubbish tips worldwide. 
 
That's the equivalent of 1.15 million heavy trucks, forming a line 23,000 kilometres (14,300 miles) long, according to the report, compiled by the United Nations University, the UN's educational and research branch.
 
Less than one-sixth of all e-waste was properly recycled, the report said.
 
“"Worldwide, e-waste constitutes a valuable 'urban mine' - a large potential reservoir of recyclable materials," UN Under Secretary-General David Malone said.
 
"At the same time, the hazardous content of e-waste constitutes a 'toxic mine' that must be managed with extreme care.” 
 
Norway was followed closely by Switzerland and Iceland, where people respectively chucked away 26.3kg and 26.1kg per head. 
 
Next in line came Denmark (24.0kg), Britain (23.5kg), the Netherlands (23.4kg), Sweden (22.3kg), France (22.2kg) and the United States and Austria (22.1kg per person).
 
In 2013, the e-waste total was 39.8 million tonnes -- and on present trends, the 50-million-tonne mark could be reached in 2018.
 
The region with the lowest amount of e-waste per inhabitant was Africa, with 1.7 kilos per person. It generated a total of 1.9 million tonnes of waste.
 
In volume terms, the most waste was generated in the United States and China, which together accounted for 32 percent of the world's total, followed by Japan, Germany and India.
 
Waste that could have been recovered and recycled was worth $52bn, including 300 tonnes of gold -- equal to 11 percent of the world's gold production in 2013.
 
But it also included 2.2m tonnes of harmful lead compounds, as well as mercury, cadmium and chromium, and 4,400 tonnes of ozone-gobbling chlorofluorocarbon (CFC) gases.
   
Almost 60 percent of e-waste by weight came from large and small kitchen, bathroom and laundry appliances.
 
Seven percent was generated by thrown-out mobile phones, calculators, personal computers and printers.
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