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Martin Murray


By January 30, 2013

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electronic waste The amount of waste that we generate is staggering. Landfills are full and the need for more sites is a never ending task. It is estimated that by 2016 there will be more mobile devices that people on the planet, and with Americans discarding those devices on average every two years. This equates to 130 million phones go into landfills each year, and with them 65,000 tons of toxic waste. The United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) estimates that 50 million metric tons of electronic waste enters landfills each year, with only 10 percent recycled in the US, less in other nations.

But what are we throwing away? As a lot of this electronic waste has value from wiring and PCB's, we are discarding a great deal of value when we throw out our phones and computers. There is not only copper, but silver and gold in cell phones, and if there was a focused attempt at reclamation, much of this precious metal could be reclaimed. However, the mechanism to harvest the precious metals does cause exposure to toxins from heavy metals such as lead, chromium, and tin. These can pollute the atmosphere and water table, and this has been seen in e-waste dumps in a number of developing nations such as Ghana, Nigeria, Pakistan, and India.

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February 2, 2013 at 12:09 am
(1) DK Singh says:

Electronic waste is very bad in India, there are millions of computers, monitors, keyboards and phones that are thrown in the rubbish every day. There are no special facilities to deal with this and there are areas full of this toxic mixture.

February 2, 2013 at 10:25 pm
(2) Ali Hughes says:

I agree that electronic waste will be a major problem in the future. At the moment people don’t think about it too much, but when they find that they have a load of old televisions, computers, printers, scanners, in their house that they need to get rid of, then multiply this by 250 million, then its a real problem.

February 4, 2013 at 7:50 pm
(3) Dawn Lowe says:

The problem with electronic waste is getting very bad in some areas. Landfills are getting full of the thousands of CRT screens thrown out every day by consumers and businesses. Our company tried to donate our old computers and we were told that the schools and after-school clubs in our area has “state of the art” equipment. So we had to pay a lot of money to get someone to dispose of our e-waste.

February 4, 2013 at 9:36 pm
(4) Ian Hollister says:

Electronic waste is probably stored up in everyone’s garage – old monitors, broken printers etc.

February 5, 2013 at 3:17 pm
(5) Barbara Freeman says:

After I read this article I went to the garage to see what broken electronic appliances we had stored and found three old style Televisions, two old desktop computers, one CRT monitor, three keyboards, two inkjet printers, and a scanner.

February 6, 2013 at 11:03 am
(6) Keith Downes says:

We have a weekly electronic recycling event at the Town Hall. It is surprising how much people bring in each week as we are not the largest town around, but everyone seems to have a dead printer or computer in their garage.

February 11, 2013 at 2:43 am
(7) Fredrick Lopez says:

I would hope that companies like Waste Management would have pick up services for e-waste like they do for recycling and garden waste. Maybe not every week, but once a month.

March 28, 2013 at 2:05 am
(8) Dean Tashobya (currently researching on E-waste) says:

True -E-waste a real problem

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