Where Do Electronics Go When They Die? (Infographic)

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.

Also Check Out:
Are Most Electronics Designed For The Dump?
Mac Users Get A New Way To Recycle Old Electronics
The Single Most Important Thing To Recycle

Graphic Created By WellHome Energy Audits

Top Image Credit: Flickr – takomabibelot


Warren Webber
Warren Webber3 years ago

Live long and prosper!

Samioneric Samioneric
Past Member 4 years ago

It’s my first time to commenting anyplace, when I got this post I thought I might also make comment due to the present wise post..


Helen Wu
Helen Wu4 years ago

Thanks for sharing :)

paul m.
paul m4 years ago


Terry V.
Terry V5 years ago



Debbie L.
Debbie Lim5 years ago

Thanks for the useful information. I can't believe people spend 120$/month on electronics... I spend that much in a year, maybe even less depending if you already have it or not.

Winn Adams
Winn A5 years ago

Thanks for the article.

Sai Krishna
Krish Away6 years ago

what a great piece of information

Abbe A.
Azaima A6 years ago

Thank you. I was just wondering what to do with some old electronics.

Marie C.
Marie Camire6 years ago

In USA, there is a great network of e-cyclers which you can look for on http://earth911.com/ Try it!