According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, consumer electronics – including TVs and other video equipment, computers, assorted peripherals, audio equipment, and cell phones – make up less than two percent of the municipal solid waste stream.
But this doesn’t mean the overall amount of e-waste getting buried in landfills or shipped to developing countries is negligible–the United Nations Environment program reports that the U.S. is the biggest producer of e-waste, discarding a shocking 3 million tons each year.
In 2010, it was estimated that a mere 15 to 20 percent of these electronic items (345,000 to 379,000 tons) are recycled annually.
The consumer electronics industry in the U.S. has come together with the aim of achieving a threefold increase in annual recycling. The target is to recycle one billion pounds of e-waste annually by 2016, three times that in 2010. One billion pounds of electronics would otherwise fill about 88.9 million cubic feet of landfill, equivalent to an entire 71,000-seat NFL stadium (The Green IT Review).
One of the easiest ways to get people to recycle their electronics properly is by educating them about what really happens after they ditch that desktop dinosaur for a shiny new iPhone or tablet.
In the infographic below, WellHome takes a look at e-waste, where it all ends up, and how we can dispose of it properly to minimize environmental damage.
Graphic Created By WellHome Energy Audits
Top Image Credit: Flickr – takomabibelot