Electronic Waste Has Grown 63 Percent in Asian Countries Since 2010

A worker dismantles toner cartridges in Guiyu, China.

A worker dismantles toner cartridges in Guiyu, China. Basel Action Network/Flickr

The amount of e-waste that Asian countries are tossing into landfills has increased 63 percent over the last five years, according to a recent report by the United Nations and the Japanese Ministry of the Environment. China’s e-waste, for example, more than doubled between 2010 and 2015, averaging 22 pounds per person.

The report found that individuals in Hong Kong were the most wasteful in the region, throwing away nearly 48 pounds of electronic devices annually. Residents in Singapore and Taiwan averaged 44 pounds every year. The increase is being driven by growth of the region’s middle class over the last decade. At the top of consumers’ wish lists are electronics such as mobile phones, tablets, televisions, and appliances, the study said.

Not all Asian countries, however, experienced an increase in e-waste. Residents in Cambodia, Vietnam, and the Philippines averaged less than 3 pounds per year. And Asians generally threw away far less e-waste than Europeans or Americans, who average 34 pounds of electronic waste per person each year.