As this year comes to a close and you might add a few new gadgets to your collection, here is something to take into consideration when it’s time to get rid of your old ones.
Millions of tons of e-waste that is thrown in the trash winds up in landfills where toxic elements of these discarded electronic components seep into the ground and are also harvested by the poor in developing parts of the world like Africa, India and China. These parts, including things like trashed mobile phones, monitors, motherboards, plastic and metal electronic and computer parts are melted down for traces of somewhat valuable metals, often in dangerous conditions.
Approximately 50 million tons of e-waste was amassed last year alone, mostly by the U.S. and China and this number is expected to increase to 65 million tons by 2017. A UN initiative called StEP [Solving The E-Waste Problem] has just created an E-waste World Map to help gather data on the e-waste situation around the world.
This is a serious environmental issue that seems to finally be getting some mainstream attention. As users and lovers of technology let’s try and prevent polluting our planet, next time your have something to throw away consider giving it away, selling it, up cycling it or finding a location that collects electronic waste for recycling in your area. [If you're in NYC, Tekserve has a great recycling program.]