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15 E-Waste/E-Cycling facts to think about


1. A large number of what is labeled as “e-waste” is actually not waste at all, but whole electronic equipment or parts that are readily marketable for reuse or can be recycled for materials recovery.

2. Every year, over 50 million tons of electronic waste is created.

3. Each year, globally, around 1 billion cell phones and 300 million computers are put into production.

4. In the U.S. alone, over 140 million cell phones are thrown into landfills every year. If all the cell phones were recycled, it would save enough energy to power 25,000 households for one year.

5. The United States is No. 1 worldwide in terms of e-waste produced annually. Americans throw around 9.4 million tons of electronics every year.

6. Recycling one million laptops saves the energy equivalent to the electricity used by more than 3,500 US homes in a year.

7. In every 1 million recycled cell phones 35,274 lbs. of copper, 772 lbs. of silver, 75 lbs. of gold, and 33 lbs. of palladium can be recovered.

8. Only 12.5% of e-waste is recycled.

9. Annually, Americans throw out phones containing over $60 million in gold and/or silver.

10. 1 ton of circuit boards are estimated to contain 40-800 times more gold and 30-40 times more copper than one metric ton of mined ore.

11. According to the United Nations, 20-50 million metric tons of electronic waste is discarded globally every year.

12. Guiyu, China is where the United States transports a major amount of its e-waste. After the electronic waste is transported over to China, the electronics are dumped in the town where it litters the streets and poisons the residents. Hydrochloric acid is thrown on the items to reveal the steel and copper to be reused. High levels of lead have been reported among residents.

13. E-waste represents 2% of America’s trash in landfills, but it equals 70% of overall toxic waste.

14. A study identified that producing a computer along with its monitor takes at least 1.5 tons of water, 48 lbsof chemicals and 530 lbs of fossil fuels.

15, The amount of global e-waste is expected to grow by 8 percent per year. Roughly 80 percent of electronic waste generated in the U.S. is exported to Asia, a trade flow that is a source of considerable controversy.

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