Fruganomics

10 e-waste facts that will make you want to cover your face

 

People all around the world are starting to take notice of electronic waste and its huge environmental footprint. How many of these facts did you know?

E-waste fact #1: Toxic Ingredients. Laptops contain many toxic ingredients including lead, cadmium, dioxins, furans, phthalates and brominated flame e-waste fact #1 - toxic ingredientsretardants. Many laptops end up in places like the e-waste centre of Agbogbloshie, Ghana, where electronic waste is burnt and disassembled with no safety or environmental considerations.

E-waste fact #2: Precious Metals. An  estimated 48.5 million tonnes of electronic waste containing gold, silver, copper and platinum was generated globally in 2018.(https:read about it here)

E-waste fact #3: It’s Worth A Fortune. Electronic waste results from the disposal of electrical or electronic devices. A less well-known fact is that it is worth at least $62.5 billion annually – more than the GDP of most countries.

E-waste fact #4: 350,000 Smartphones Every Day. Approximately 350,000 mobile phones are disposed of every day, according to 2010 figures from the Environmental Protection Agency. That equates to over 152 million phones thrown away in one year.

E-waste fact #5: Kitchen, Laundry and Bathroom. More than 50% of electronic waste may result from discarded kitchen, laundry and bathroom equipment. Items include:

    • Household appliances like fridges and freezers
    • Telecoms equipment
    • Lighting
    • Medical devices
    • Monitoring and control instruments
e-waste fact #8
recycling lead from batteries

E-waste fact #6: A Precious Metal Called Palladium. For every one million cell phones 33 pounds of palladium – a precious metal used in the manufacture of electrical contacts, surgical instruments and watches – can be recovered (source: EPA). Read about the most eco-friendly smartphones

E-waste fact #7: China Produces Most Of It. China produced more than any other country in 2016, 7.2 million metric tons, the US was in second place with 6.3 million metric tons. (see here)

E-waste fact #8: Only 16% Gets Recycled. According to United Nations reports, only 16% of total global e-waste generation in 2014 was recycled by government agencies and companies sanctioned by industry regulators. (read here)

E-waste fact #9: Hazardous Waste. E-waste represents only 2% of the U.S. solid waste stream, but the amount accounts for 70% of the hazardous waste that is deposited in landfills, according to an EPA report.

E-waste fact #10: That’s A Lot of Water. It takes 530 pounds of fossil fuel, 48 pounds of chemicals and 1.5 tons of water to manufacture one computer and monitor.

Featured image: Nick Fewings on Unsplash; Laptop: Giordano Rossoni on Unsplash

Clive Margolis

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