As the global production and consumption of electronic goods increases, implementing comprehensive solutions for managing the waste generated by the electronic industry is crucial. Electronic waste (e-waste) is defined as discarded electronic equipment including televisions, mobile phones, computers, mp3 players, office equipment, refrigerators, gaming systems, navigation devices, internal electronic components like motherboards and transistors, and so on.
In 2009 alone, 438 million new electronic devices were purchased. According to the EPA, that same year, approximately 2.37 million tons of electronics were ready for end-of-life management with another 5 million tons in storage, representing an increase of more than a 120% compared to 1999. This number is projected to rise further due to the advancement of technology, changes in media storage devices, and planned obsolescence.
Aside from adding to our world’s landfills, e-waste presents specific health risks compared to standard waste. Many of the components that make up personal electronics contain potentially hazardous materials and require complicated disposal methods. E-waste may contain any number of the following hazardous materials: mercury, sulphur, Brominated Flame Retardants (BFRs), cadmium, lead, beryillium oxide, and americium. Because these byproducts are particularly harmful to water sources and ecosystems, recycling presents a highly preferable method of managing e-waste that increases landfill diversion.
Electronic recycling (e-cycling) is the process of collecting, repairing, disassembling, and recycling the precious metals or materials that are used in electronic equipment. Environmental companies, such as Waste Management, offer environmentally and economically advantageous solutions for handling consumer e-waste. Waste Management’s eScrap Tracker ™ is a system that allows customers to ship their e-waste directly to processing centers. E-waste is also accepted for drop-off at many Waste Management facility locations. These innovative solutions are helping companies manage their e-waste while supporting sustainability objectives as well as preserving valuable natural resources.
For more information about our e-cycling programs, contact Waste Management Sustainability Services at 877-441-3046 or visit our website at wmsustainabilityservices.com.