"The keystone of our high tech revolution
is rapid innovation which now brings new technologies
to market every 18 months. The useful life-span of a
personal computer has shrunk from four or five years
to two years. For all its benefits, our renaissance
of innovation brings with it the interrelated consequences
of rapid obsolescence."
"Electronic waste already constitutes from 2% to 5%
of the US municipal solid waste stream and is growing
rapidly. European studies estimate that the volume of
electronic waste is rising by 3% to 5% per year - almost
three times faster than the municipal waste stream."
"According to the US Environmental Protection Agency
(EPA), in 1997 more than 3.2 million tons of E-waste
ended up in US landfills. In a new report for the EPA,
analysts estimate that the amount of E-waste in US landfills
will grow fourfold in the next few years."
"Analysts estimate that more than 6000 computers become
obsolete in California every day. They are either tossed
out with the trash and subsequently landfilled by trash
collectors - often illegally - or stored in attics and
garages for a later day when they will be dumped."
"Between 1997 and 2007, nearly 500 million personal computers became obsolete. Almost two computers for each person in the U.S. Some studies predict that a large number of televisions will be disposed when high definition television becomes widely available. (Source: National Recycling Coalition)."
"Nearly two million tons of used electronics, including computers and televisions, are discarded each year. In addition, an estimated 128 million cell phones are retired from use annually, according to the EPA."
"Electronics often contain useful materials such as precious metals, glass, and plastics that should be recovered rather than buried in a landfill. For example, precious metals are used in computer circuit boards and other electronic components, and of course glass and plastics are used for TV and computer monitors. Recycling these products reduces the need to mine the earth for raw materials."
"Heavy metals and other materials such as lead, cadmium, mercury, arsenic and even PCBs found in many electronics can be harmful to the environment and our health if the products are not properly disposed."
"The crisis continues to grow. Studies estimate that
the number of obsolete computers in the United States
will soon be as high as 315 to 680 million units. By
the year 2005, one computer will become obsolete for
every new computer put on the market."
"Each computer or television display contains an average
of 4 to 8 pounds of lead. The 315 million computers
that will become obsolete between 1997 and 2004 contain
a total of more than 1.2 billion pounds of lead. Monitor
glass contains about 20% lead by weight. When these
components are illegally disposed and crushed in landfills,
the lead is released into the environment, posing a
hazardous legacy for current and future generations.
Consumer electronics already constitute 40% of lead
found in landfills. About 70% of the heavy metals, including
mercury and other hazardous substances found in electronics
can contaminate groundwater and pose other environmental
and public health risks."
(From "Poison PCs and
Toxic TVs: California's Biggest Environmental Crisis
That You've Never Heard Of" - Silicon Valley Toxics
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