Have you ever thrown away an old VCR, computer or cell phone? You probably didn’t think much of it at the time; after all, it takes just a few seconds to toss something like this is a garbage bag. Many people don’t know that a simple action like this is contributing to a growing problem – environmental poisoning from the mounting number of e-waste items in landfills across the US.
Fact: Chemicals and dangerous metals found in e-waste products can leak into the environment and cause a slew of health problems for people, animals and plants.
Take a look at these e-waste facts to see why it’s so important to dispose of your electronic waste in a responsible manner.
- According to the Environmental Protection Agency, 423,000 tons of computers were disposed of in the year 2010. Only 40% of these computers were recycled, meaning that 255,000 tons of computers went to landfills in the United States.
- The EPA also states that 595,000 tons of computer monitors were disposed of in 2012, with only 33% of them being recycled. Therefore, 401,000 tons went to landfills in the United States.
- 61,400 tons of keyboards and mice went into landfills throughout the US in 2010.
- 28,500,000 televisions were thrown away in the year 2010, but only 17% were recycled. Therefore, 23,000,000 televisions went into landfills.
- In 2010, 190,000 tons of hard copy items (printers, faxes, etc.) were placed into landfills throughout the US.
The great news is that the awareness of the benefits of recycling e-waste is growing. In the year 2010:
- 168,000 tons of computers were recycled in the US (40% of the total disposed of).
- 194,000 tons of computer monitors were recycled in the US (33% of the total disposed of).
- 97,000 tons of hard copy devices (printers, scanners, fax machines, etc.) were recycled in the US (33% of the total disposed of).
- 6,460 tons of keyboards and mice were recycled in 2010 (10% of the amount disposed of).
- 181,000 tons of televisions were recycled in the US (17% of the total disposed of).
- 2,240 tons of mobile devices were recycled in the US (11% of the total disposed of).
While the number of recycled items is very high, it’s quite low in comparison with the number of items thrown into landfills and not recycled.
Food for Thought:
- If you add up all of the e-waste items that went into landfills in the year 2010, you’d have one for every person living in the US that year, plus more (310,000,000 e-waste items vs. 309.3 million people)!
- Every single day, individuals in the US dispose of 142,000 computers and 416,000 mobile devices.
- The least-recycled e-waste item in the United States is the cell phone or mobile device.
- 2,440,000 e-waste items were disposed of in the US in the year 2010 – not including television peripherals (VCRs, DVD players, game consoles, etc.).
- If you stretched out the mobile devices that were thrown away in 2010 and placed them end to end, you’d have enough to cover more than 50 million feet!
- $206 billion was spent on electronic items in the year 2011.
Fact: E-waste generation is growing by 40 million tons per year. We simply cannot afford to continue throwing our e-waste items into landfills! It is essential that every person does the responsible thing and recycles their computers, laptops, cell phones, PDAs and other electronic devices for the health of our earth and the people, plants and animals living on it!