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Ewaste Facts

What is “E-Waste”?

e-waste
E-waste is an ever-growing popular, yet informal name for a variety of electronic products that have met the end of their “useful life”. This includes computers, televisions, monitors, laptops, cell Phones, VCRs, stereos, copiers, fax machines and so on.  It is not surprising that electronic discard is one of the fastest growing segments of our nation’s trash, already consisting of 5% of the total trash volume. Alarmingly, these figures don’t include what is nearly an additional 75% of old electronics that are stuck in storages due to lack of understanding of proper management and disposal of e-waste.

E-Waste Statistics:

In recent years, advances in consumer electronics and personal computers have spurred economic growth, changed information technology and improved people lives in countless ways. However, our growing dependence on electronic products both at home and in the workplace has given rise to a new environmental hazard: electronic waste.

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  • A recent study by the EPA shows that electronics already makes up 1% of the known municipal solid waste stream. Research completed in Europe showed that e-waste is an epidemic, growing at an astronomical three times the rate of other municipal waste.
  • While e-waste cannot be prevented, environmental consequences have driven government policies to explore alternative solutions such as the reuse and/or recycling of older electronics.
  • According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
    • The amount of electronic products discarded globally is about 20-50 million metric tons per year.
    • In 2009, 2.37 million tons of e-waste was generated in the U.S. alone – only 17.7% was recycled.
    • Approximately 235 million units of e-waste had been accumulated in storage from 1980 through 2007 (not including cell phones).
    • About 25 million TVs are taken out of service yearly.
  • Many precious metals such as gold, silver, copper, palladium and platinum are recovered from electronics, networking equipment, circuit boards, frames as well as other materials.

 

Dangers of improper disposal of e-waste:

dangers1Many electronic devices contain high enough levels of toxic materials such as lead, barium, cadmium, and mercury that render them hazardous when disposed.

CADMIUM: breathing cadmium can severely damage the lungs and cause death.

LEAD: attacks the nervous system in both adults and children. Large consumption of lead can develop blood anemia, kidney damage, severe stomach aches, muscle weakness and brain damage severe enough to kill a child.

Televisions and computer monitors contain a picture tube known as the cathode ray tubes (CRTs), which contain significant amounts of lead.

Liquid Crystal Displays (LCDs) are illuminated by mercury-filled panels.

Circuitry within monitors and other electronic boards contain chromium, copper, and lead that exceed regulatory limits.

The batteries that power many of these types of equipment contain metals such as lead, nickel, cadmium, silver, lithium, and other dangerous metals. Your personal data might be compromised.