electronic waste

A general term that describes old computers, dead cell phones, old tablets and PDAs, even old television sets, it refers to obsolete technology that is thrown in the trash instead of recycled.

In many places it is illegal to throw away your old electronic devices because they contain significant amounts of hazardous chemicals, and because they are clogging landfills. For example, the picture tube in a TV or a computer monitor typically contains 3 to 5 pounds of lead, and electronic circuit boards have additional lead, cadmium and mercury.

To find out where to recycle such items, contact a recycler on the list of businesses in the Google search below. There is often a fee and certain types of devices are not accepted.

Computer facts:

  • An estimated 1,600 computers become obsolete in the state of Washington alone every day.
  • Twenty percent of the weight in the glass of a computer monitor is lead.
  • Computers and other e-waste account for 70 percent of heavy metals, including toxic mercury and cadmium, in U.S. landfills.
  • As much as 80 percent of e-waste from this country is shipped to developing nations in Asia.

    Historical perspective: According to Bloomberg in 2014, e-waste recycling is set to become a $100 billion annual global business as legislation catches up forcing companies to act responsibly. Many analysts expect the e-waste recovery industry to grow faster than any other waste stream over the five years.
  • See also : space junk  
    NetLingo Classification: Net Hardware