A record level of discarded electrical and electronic products, amounting to 41.8 million tons worldwide, was thrown away last year, with less than one-sixth of it being properly recycled, according to a new report from the United Nations. It was the largest amount ever discarded, and there is no sign it will slow down. Even countries like Japan that have recycling and recovery programs discard a massive — and dangerous — amount of e-waste.

The study, conducted by United Nations University, a research branch of the U.N., found that in volume terms, the largest amount of e-waste was generated in the United States and China, which together accounted for 32 percent of the total. The third most wasteful country by volume was Japan, which discarded a grand total of 2.2 million tons in 2013.

Even though Japan's per capita waste, 17.3 kg per inhabitant, was lower than some less densely populated countries, other countries, such as those in Africa, had much lower amounts of e-waste. Africa's average was 1.7 kg per person, one-tenth the amount of the waste generated by the average Japanese.