Electronic waste, also referred to as E-waste, is a new form of waste, which is produced due to the advancement of technology. As E-waste comprises of toxic components, those, which are used in devices such as computers, refrigerators, mobile phones, music devices, etc, it is crucial to make sure that these are recycled and kept away from the environment. Each year, an astounding 20-50 million tons of E-waste is dumped into the landfills around the world. This figure continues to grow year on year, due to the rapid growth of applied technology to which the consumers get attracted and tend to shift from one device to the other. Devices such as mobile phones and digital cameras are constantly being enhanced with updated features and improved usability. It is because of this progression, that we see personal technology devices entering the landfills every now and then. Now, with that being said, let us have a look at some of the facts surrounding the E-Waste recycling.
Some lesser-known facts about e-waste recycling:
- Approximately 41.8 million tons of e-waste was generated around the world in the year 2014. It comprised of small equipment of 12.8 million tons, large equipment of 11.8 million tons, temperature exchange equipment of 7.0 million tons, screens and monitors of 6.3 million tons, small IT and lamps of 3.0 million and 1.0 million tons respectively. It is expected that the worldwide e-waste generation will reach 49.8 million by the end of 2018.
- Out of the total e-waste generated in 2014, only 6.5 million tons was recycled by the national electronic take-back systems.
- According to the reports by United Nations, out of the total e-waste generated in 2014, only 16% was recycled by the government agencies.
- At present, only 15-20% of the total e-waste is recycled.
- As per the reports by EPA, on daily basis, we are supposed to scrap more than 142,000 computers and 416,000 mobile devices.
- E-waste is most of the time exported to developing countries such as China, Malaysia, Kenya, India and various African countries. The leniency in their environmental regulations makes it profitable to treat e-waste in these countries.
- Lack of control over the e-waste recycling methods can cause water pollution, air pollution and other health hazards to those who are directly involved in the process.
- Apart from the harmful substances, E-waste also contains the ones that can be reclaimed such as copper and gold.
- The largest E-waste site in the world is Guiyu, which is based out in China. With 1,50,000 workers onboard and 16 hours of the average work day, it receives a shipment containing toxic waste from both domestic as well as international sources.
- According to EPA, in 2007, roughly 26 million Television sets were scrapped in the United States. Also in 2009, no more than 8% of mobile phones, 17% of Television sets and 38% of computers were recycled.
- As per ‘isupply’, in the year 2010, approximately 1.56 billion consumer electronics were brought. This number went up to 1.6 billion units in the very next year.
- It was identified that producing a computer along with a monitor requires at least 1.5 tons of water, 48 lbs of chemicals along with 530 lbs of fossil fuels.
- As per a study, recycling 10,000 tons of only computer waste can create 296 jobs in a year.
- Mobile phones contain precious metals such as silver and gold. Americans tend to throw $60 million worth of silver and gold every year.
- Globally, around one billion mobile phones and 300 million computers are produced.
- The amount of E-waste generated globally is expected to grow by 8% each year.
- 80% of the total E-waste generated in the US is exported to the Asian countries.
- Some of the toxic elements found in e-waste are barium, cadmium lead, phosphorous, as well as brominated flame retardants.
Many stores offer a collection of batteries for recycling. Even mobile phone companies offer taking up old cell phones for refurbishing and recycling. It is highly recommended that you do a proper research before taking up the decision of disposing of the e-waste generated in a landfill. There are chances that you might find a manufacturer who is willing to take it up.