A recently published study has found that recycling of electronics may be more important than ever. Profiling 180 countries, the study determined that the increasing integration of electronics into mainstream life has resulted in a massive build-up of “e-waste”, expected to hit 65.4 million tons in 2017. Electronics
The US alone was reported to generate 9.4 million tons every year making it the largest source of e-waste in the world. China came in second at 7.3 million tons per year.
Image courtesy of US Army Environmental Command via flickrcc
An unfortunate cleanup solution for developed countries has been to simply ship it to lesser-developed countries and dump e-waste there, where locations for proper recycling do not exist and attempts to scrap it result in exposure to harmful chemicals and heavy metals – often by child workers. The US ships 26,500 tons of e-waste to poorer countries each year.
The EU has drafted legislation in hopes of addressing the problem, and Britain will be the first country to implement the changes. New laws coming into effect in the UK starting 2014 require EU member states to recycle 45% of electronic products place on the market.