In the electronics industry, rapid technology innovation and ever-shortening product lifespans are contributing to staggering flows of e-waste.
In 2014, global e-waste amounted to nearly 42 million tons, according to a report by the United Nations University. That’s enough discarded televisions, computers, cellphones and other gadgets to equal the weight of 115 Empire State Buildings.
And the total amount of global e-waste could hit 50 million tons by 2017, the report warned.
All of this has profound negative environmental and human health impacts. Toxic chemicals accumulate in soil, water and food, and harmful fumes pollute the air.