What Is E-Waste?


With the changing of the times and our world becoming so much more technologically advanced we are also experiencing a new form of environmental issue and that new form of environmental issue is called E-Waste.

E-waste is the disposal of electronic devices such as computers, cell phones, iPods, refrigerators, TV sets and other electronic devices.


(Photo by Brian Dunnette)

E-waste is not simply the disposal of these electronic devices but is also used to refer to the discarded and broken or obsolete electronic devices.

Third world countries do not have a form of processing the electronic waste and this is causing very serious pollution issues as well as serious health issues.

Third world countries are facing serious health and pollution issues due to the disposal of e-waste because electronics leave behind them harmful chemicals such as lead, brominated flame retardants, beryllium and cadmium.

These harmful contaminants are getting into the water supply of the people in these developing countries.

In the United States the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) monitors the discarding of the electronics.

The EPA considers CRT monitors also in the harmful and or hazardous waste category. In the United States electronic waste is about 2% of the total waste around the country.

According to the EPA there were more than 2 million tons of unwanted electronics in 2005 alone. Also in the United States the average family or household spends an average of $1,400 per year on electronics.

This average of $1,400 per year in American households is purchasing an average of 24 electronic devices every single year. Think outside the box of just cell phones and TVs and realize this also means calculators, irons and any other electronic devices.

E-waste has increasingly become a major issue around the world due to the rapid changes in technology. These rapid changes in technology mixed with the electronic industry rapid pace in producing these electronics make for an increased issue with e-waste.

Some companies are coming forward with recycling programs and “Cash for” programs. The “Cash for” programs range from “Cash for Laptops” to “Cash for TVs” depending upon the manufacturer and retail outlet store.

With all of these issues surrounding e-waste there are also many costs and much labor associated with disposal and concern of the electronic waste.

Developing nations and third world countries do not have the money or the sources for disposal of electronic waste therefore these countries are basically being used by the rest of the world as simply dumping grounds for e-waste.


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