According to the EPA, electronic waste contributes 70% of the toxins found in landfills. Electronic waste, or e-waste, contains some very toxic materials, including mercury, lead, cadmium, arsenic, beryllium and brominated flame-retardants. According to e-Stewards,
when the latter are “burned at low temperatures they create additional toxins, such as halogenated dioxins and furans — some of the most toxic substances known to humankind. The toxic materials in electronics can cause cancer, reproductive disorders, endocrine disruption, and many other health problems if this waste stream is not properly managed.”
Regrettably, a very small percentage of e-waste is recycled.
As little as 11% to 14% of e-waste in the U.S. is estimated to be recycled. The remainder is dumped into landfills or burned in incinerators. These unacceptable methods of disposal fail to recover precious materials or manage toxic materials safely. In addition, approximately 70% to 80% of the e-waste given to recyclers is exported to countries where primitive extraction methods are sometimes used and the toxins contaminate local soil, air and groundwater.
Examples of toxins within your e-waste:
Other disturbing information:
To ensure your e-waste is recycled responsibly, it is important to find a dependable recycler, an e-Steward, in your region. Certified e-Stewards recyclers adhere to a strict standard of responsible recycling and reuse with the goal to protect human health and the global environment. To find a list of e-Steward Recyclers in your area, visit e-stewards.org/find-a-recycler/.