Came across this great article in Wired Online, that outlines just how much a growing issue consumer electronic e-waste is becoming. The manufacturers of a lot of our favourite items aren’t making things any easier, either.
Some 41.5 million tons of electronic waste was generated in 2011, and that number is expected to rise to 93.5 million by 2016, according to the research firm MarketsandMarkets. Right now, 70 to 80 percent of all that old gadgetry goes straight to landfills. The majority of consumer electronics include a host of environmentally hazardous chemicals like mercury, cadmium, lead, phosphorus, arsenic, and beryllium. When they end up in a landfill, these chemicals eventually seep into the ground and into our water supply. Disposing of them properly is essential, but as the statistics outline, it’s not happening.
The variety of devices that we’ve come to be dependent on are also not becoming easier to recycle, which another big part of the problem. As our gadgets become sleeker, thinner, and more compact, they utilize non standard screws, more powerful adhesives and bonding, and a growing number of new processes that thermally set components in place permanently. Taking these things apart has become an arduous and time consuming process.