Sustainability 101

Q&A: Why Should We Worry About E-Waste?

Q: Why Should We Worry About E-Waste?

A: With the increasing speed of changing technology, electronic waste or e-waste–discarded computers, cell phones, iPods and other electronics–is a growing concern.

Toxic components in these devices, which may include mercury, lead and cadmium, can leak and contaminate the environment if disposed of improperly.

According to the United Nations Environmental Protection agency (UNEP), about 20 to 50 million metric tonnes of e-waste is produced globally each year. Some of it is shipped overseas illegally or under the guise of donations, and end up mainly in Africa and China, where they pollute the environment and poison thousands of people.

When recycled properly, your old electronics pose no environmental hazard. Here in the U.S., many municipalities are now legislating recycling of e-waste, and offering drop-off or pick-up services to facilitate proper disposal. NYC, for example, passed a law that requires electronic equipment manufacturers to begin accepting electronics for recycling by July 1, 2010.

To recycle e-waste from your home, check with your local municipality or contact your local  electronics store to learn about their trade in and recycling programs.

Call Great Forest to set up a proper e-waste recycling program for your office. Consultants can also conduct workshops for your tenants and staff, and answer any questions about recycling electronic equipment.

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