What is e-waste?

E-waste refers to old, obsolete, unwanted, broken, malfunctioning discarded electronic items. The list of things considered e-waste is numerous, and it is easiest to view all items that run on a battery or power cord devices that, when disposed of, would be called e-waste. Vacuum cleaners, for example, are considered solid waste and are to be disposed of in the regular garbage. This classification may change. Check with your local e-waste recycling center to find more information on what is considered electronic waste.

Toxic materials

Electronics are made of various materials, some of these materials are toxic, and others are reusable. When broken down and separated, these materials can be reused, eliminating waste and preserving valuable natural resources. Recycling electronic items are the best way to keep toxic materials and heavy metals from landfills, which prevents these toxins from leaching into the soil. The chemicals are called polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and have been found in air, water, and dirt worldwide.

Poor Countries

People risk their lives and overall well-being in developing countries to extract precious metals from discarded electronics. People go as far as to burn electronics and then filter through the ash to collect anything of value. The collected materials may provide their food for the day. Taking away one's ability to feed themselves may seem cruel, but it is best for everyone. The world needs to take a long-term worldview and stop the illegal dumping of e-waste in developing countries.

E-waste is an environmental nightmare that is only going to get worse if we don't do something to slow down how much we generate.

E-waste is pilling up all around the world creating an environmental nightmare

E-waste disposal

E-waste facilities are available at just about any landfill or dumpsite in California. There are usually seasonal periods where even more harmful waste can be appropriately recycled free of charge. Not all electronic items are considered electronic waste.

However, not all e-waste facilities are free. The fees for most of these services are paid for by purchasing new televisions and other electronics. Contact your local electronic waste facility for more information.

Donating your items

If your electronic item still has resale value or is still fully functional, consider donating it, or giving it away to a friend. Before you decide to donate or give your PC out to someone, consider why it is being replaced. If it was unstable or did not seem to run right, it may be better to dispose of it at an electronic waste facility.

At PCMD, we feel if it will cost money to fix, or if it is ancient, it should be disposed of properly at an e-waste facility. Computers become unreliable and have limited life spans regardless of whether they still work. However, you are free to do as your choose. We ask that you help keep e-waste out of landfills.

E-waste statistics

EPA estimates state that in 2007 over 112,000 computers were recycled daily in the U.S.A.

In 2009, discarded TVs, computers, peripherals (including printers, scanners, fax machines) mice, keyboards, and cell phones totaled about 2.37 million short tons or 4,740,000,000 lbs.

source: www.epa.gov

Estimates for 2019 world wide electronic waste disposal is over 50 million tons or 100 billion pounds.