Nowadays everyone wants the newest... coolest technology. They come out with a new phone at least every month, and if you want to “keep up with the Jones’.. the phone you just purchased last month is seemingly obsolete! I remember when I bought a cool new flatscreen 720p tv. Then they came out with blu ray players, and you had to have a 1080p tv to use it to its “full HD capabilities.” Now they have 3D tv’s... whats next. To make a long story short, we are creating new technologies at a rapid rate. Leaving “last months models” to go to waste.
I have complied some interesting statistics to show how big the problem of E waste has become. Some of these stats are from a year or two back, so if they have changed, the problem has only gotten worse.
The following information is from www.electronicstakeback.com. They have a great site, that provides alot of information on our current e-waste problems, how you can help out, or donate money, they have a blog, news reel and many other interesting features.
The EPA estimates that 29.9 million desktops and 12 million laptops were discarded in 2007. That’s over 112,000 computers discarded per day!
The EPA report (above) estimates that 31.9 computer monitors were discarded in 2007 – both flat panel and CRTs.
In a 2006 report, the International Association of Electronics Recyclers projects that with the current growth and obsolescence rates of the various categories of consumer electronics, (a broader list than the EPA used above, including DVDs, VCRs, mainframes) somewhere in the neighborhood of 3 billion units will be scrapped during the rest of this decade, or an average of about 400 million units a year.
In 2008, we generated 3.16 million tons of e‐waste in the U.S. Of this amount, only 430,000 tons or 13.6 % was recycled, according to the EPA. The rest was trashed – in landfills or incinerators.
“Some 20 to 50 million metric tons of e‐waste are generated worldwide every year, comprising more than 5% of all municipal solid waste. When the millions of computers purchased around the world every year (183 million in 2004) become obsolete they leave behind lead, cadmium, mercury and other hazardous wastes. In the US alone, some 14 to 20 million PCs are thrown out every year. In the EU the volume of e‐waste is expected to increase by 3 to 5 per cent a year. Developing countries are expected to triple their output of e‐waste by 2010.”
E‐waste is still the fastest growing municipal waste stream in the US. The category of “selected consumer electronic products” grew by almost 5% from 2007 to 2008, from 2.84 million tons from 3.01 million tons to 3.16 million tons.
While it’s not a large part of the waste stream, e‐waste shows a higher growth rate than any other category of municipal waste in the EPA’s report. Overall, between 2007 and 2008, total volumes of municipal waste DECREASED, while e‐waste volumes continue to increase.
Only 13.6% of the consumer electronic products generated into the municipal waste stream (meaning, that people tossed out) were “recovered” for recycling in 2008. This compares to the overall recovery rate of all categories of municipal waste was 33.2% in 2008. A total of 430,000 tons of electronics were recovered in 2008.
Their are ideas of different programs and laws that could be implemented to reducing our growing e-waste stream. But for now the solution is simple... we need to promote awareness of this issue and the ease of recycling old electronics in our communities. There are so many different companies that provide e-waste recycling. Many places will actually pay your for your old cell phones, laptops etc. I think that when people know that they can get money for their old electronics... they will be less willing to just throw them away.
I found a great resource online that helps you to find the best cash offer for the electronic good that you want to recycle. www.ecosquid.com I hope to raise awareness about sites like these, and start getting people to recycle their e-waste. So tell your friends!