E-waste Recycling Eliminates Health and Environment Hazards
The major benefits of e-waste recycling are the elimination of the health and environment hazards caused by disposal of untreated e-waste in landfills.
The Federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates more than four million tons of e-waste are hitting landfills each year, with the numbers compounding every year. Much of this e-waste contains significant quantities of non-biodegradable toxic substances. Computers, servers, and other IT hardware contain mercury, lead, barium, arsenic, antimony, and cadmium. Flat-panel light displays contain mercury and CRT monitors contain lead.
When e-waste finds its way into landfills such toxic metals seep out and contaminate the soil and water, causing health problems and polluting the atmosphere. Incinerating e-waste produces volatilized heavy metals that cause an even more significant public health hazard.
Recycling e-waste helps eliminate its propensity to cause health and environmental hazards. Recycling diverts nearly 70 million tons of e-waste away from landfills and incinerators every year.
A major health benefit of recycling relates to reduction of pollution. Mining and processing minerals emit 1.5 tons of toxic emissions into the air and water every year. E-waste recycling contributes to eliminating ten major categories of air pollutants and eight major categories of water pollutants.
The latest figures estimate that the annual quantity of e-waste recycled in the USA reduces greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to removing nearly 25 million cars from the road.