What Is Ewaste?
Electronic waste, also known as e-waste, is a term for electronics that have become obsolete, non-working, or unwanted, and overall have reached the end of their lifespan. Since technology advances every few years, the majority of electronic devices become trash after short term use. For example, VCRs have been replaced by DVD players, and now DVD players are being replaced by blu-ray players. E-waste can be created from various electronics: monitors, computers, TVs, fax machines, printers, VCRs, PDAs, and CD players.
Electronics that are not being used anymore are very quickly filling up landfills around the globe. In the U.S. alone, 100 million computers are being thrown into landfills with less than 20 percent being recycled the right way. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) calculates that over 60 million metric tons of electronic waste enters various landfills each year. The majority of electronics that are thrown away into landfills have some form of harmful materials such as lead, cadmium, mercury, and beryllium. While these elements might be small in scale, they become a significant threat to the environment when they are added up in volume. In addition to adding detrimental materials to the environment, the e-waste could of been recycled properly. Almost all electronics have some form of material that is recyclable, including metals, plastic, and glass.
When electronic waste is burned at low temperatures and not recycled properly, they create many other toxins such as furnas and halogenated dioxins that are some of the most dangerous substances known to the world. Additionally, the toxic materials in electronics can cause endocrine disruption, reproductive disorders, cancer, and many other health disorders when electronic waste is not recycled properly.
Electronic waste is growing rapidly because the markets and countries where these electronics are produced are also growing rapidly. For example, according to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, there has been a 22 percent growth in Information Technology in China. In addition, China had the sixth largest Information Technology market in 2006, after the U.S., Germany, Japan, France, and the U.K.
Computers are only a small part of the e-waste though. The European Union in 2005 accounted for 44 percent of the total e-waste, and it was mostly large household appliances, combined with fridges and other freezing and cooling applications.
With rapid product replacement and innovation, especially in office equipment and Information Technology, along with the rapidly evolving digital technologies from monitors and flat-screen TVs, for example, are increasingly fueling the increase for e-waste and landfills. In addition, the cost advantages of producing the electronics have dramatically decreased, which has increased the overall global demand for many electrical products that will eventually become e-waste and put in a landfill.
Electronic waste is a problem of global concern because of the nature of disposal and production of waste in a civilized world. While it is difficult to identify how much e-waste there is, e-waste is ending up in places where it is not being recycled properly. This raises concerns about the dangers to the environment and to humans.
How You Can Help
Please recycle your old and unused electronic devices. With your help, we can make the planet a better place and reduce the amount of toxins that enter our landfills and poison our environment. Schedule a FREE pickup today.