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The world threw away $57 billion in gold, silver, copper found in E-waste

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(Kitco News) - Consumers around the world threw away $57 billion last year, according to a report from the United Nations’ Global E-waste Monitor 2020.

According to the latest report published Monday, e-waste, anything with a plug or battery, hit a record 53.6 million tons in 2019, increasing 21% from the previous year.

Out of all the electronic items thrown away, only 17.4% valued at $10 billion were recycled last year, the report said.

“This means that gold, silver, copper, platinum and other high-value, recoverable materials conservatively valued at US $57 billion—a sum greater than the Gross Domestic Product of most countries—were mostly dumped or burned rather than being collected for treatment and reuse,” the report said.

Asia generated the highest volume of e-waste last year, totaling, some 24.9 million tons; meanwhile, followed the Americas produced 13 million tons of e-waste and Europe created 12 million tons. Africa and Oceania generated 2.9 million tons and 0.7 million tons, respectively.

The United Nations projects that e-waste could rise to 74 million tons by 2030.

“It is essential to substantially increase the officially documented 17.4% global e-waste collection and recycling rate, especially in view of the rapid growth of this waste stream,” the report said.

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