TV and computer monitors are rounded up at a recycling point.
We all love the thrill of buying a shiny, new gadget, but very little thought goes into what we do with our old devices. Some companies, like Apple, offer recycling programs for our old electronics, but often times, our obsolete technology ends up in a scrap heap.
Researchers at StEP, an initiative for the reduction and proper disposal of electronic waste, have been tracking the amounts of e-waste generated by developed countries worldwide.
It's not just your smartphones, computers and television sets that are considered e-waste. Following definitions set by the European Union, StEP also includes large and small household appliances from microwaves to washing machines, as well as other personal consumer equipment like cameras, printers and Internet routers.
In addition, other electrical and some commercial items such as lighting equipment, certain electrical tools, electronic toys, leisure and sports equipment, monitoring and control instruments, automatic dispensers, and even some medical devices, are classified as e-waste.
Statistics company Statista visualized the StEP initiative's staggering findings in the following chart.
These appliances are gradually taking over the world's landfills, leading to a global environmental problem that has so far gone largely unnoticed. The United States is the the greatest perpetrator, generating 9.4 million metric tons of waste per year in 2012 — around 29.8 kilograms per person.