According to the UN's Step initiative, which was set up to tackle the world's growing e-waste crisis, last year nearly 50m tonnes of e-waste was generated worldwide.
The electronic goods made up of hundreds of different materials and containing toxic substances such as lead, mercury, cadmium, arsenic and flame retardants, the Guardian reports.
Once in landfill, these toxic materials seep out into the environment, contaminating land, water and the air.
According to the Step report, e-waste is now the world's fastest growing waste stream.
The failure to recycle is also leading to shortages of rare-earth minerals to make future generations of electronic equipment, the report added.