Electronic waste describes electronic equipment that has reached its end of life in the hands of its current user. Between 20 and 50 million tons of e-waste worldwide are generated each year.
The EPA estimated that 29.9 million desktops and 12 million laptops were discarded in 2007; totaling over 112,000 computers discarded each day. Overall, a total of 157 million computer products including CPUs, monitors, notebooks, keyboards, mice, printers, faxes, and copiers — were discarded, with only 18% recycled. Approximately 126 million cell phones were also discarded in 2007, with only 10% recycled.
Up to 85% of discarded electronics were disposed of in landfills in 2007. E-waste represents 2% of trash in American landfills, but it equals 70% of the overall toxic waste in landfills, and is the fastest growing municipal waste stream in the U.S.
The proper disposal of electronic equipment is critical to maintaining a healthy environment for future generations.