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The Electronic Waste Crisis: Laptops – Facts and Figures

July 7, 2015

aptopManufacturers are constantly searching for new ways to improve the technology of their laptops, and encouraging consumers to frequently replace their used electronics. Today, laptops become obsolete 6 months after their purchase. How many electronic items do you have stored on a shelf or in a closet throughout your home? Did you know that storing electronics is also a form of e-waste?

Greenpeace regards e-waste as a dangerous world-wide epidemic. According to the organization, harmful compounds such as lithium and mercury, that end up in landfills when laptops are not recycled properly, have dangerous effects on the environment, animals and humans.

Recycling used laptops not only helps reduce the amount of e-waste that could end up in landfills, but it also helps worldwide mineral processing companies that re-purpose metals and minerals from electronic scrap. This practice is less expensive and more productive than mining.

The Eco-Friendly way
Eco-friendly companies and global citizens have found earth-friendly ways to improve the design and construction of laptops. For example, making smaller batteries that deliver longer life in smaller, streamlined units allow laptops to have a longer life.

Get Informed!
Government agencies, e-waste recycling groups, and eco-friendly companies always share their ideas and latest research. The Internet is a world-wide classroom supporting on-line group meetings and allowing interested parties to learn virtually without any expenses.

Buildup of Electronic Waste: Globally and in the USA

In 2010, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) conducted an e-waste survey to better understand the habits of US commercial, residential and institutional users. Data about storage, sales, collection, use, and disposal was gathered. As a result, approximately 47.4 million laptops and computers were identified in need of ‘end-of-life’ management. It was noted that 29.4 million laptops were disposed, and only 18 million laptops were recycled.

Recycling e-waste makes a difference.
Hazardous waste experts forecast that between 2007 and 2020, global disposal of computers and laptops will increase:

  • India’s levels will increase 500 percent.
  • China and South Africa will increase 200 to 400 percent.

According to the EPA, the United States recycles approximately 20 percent of its e-waste. The organization stated that approximately 3 million tons of e-waste is sent to incinerators and landfills. Recycling not only reduce the amount of e-waste in the environment, but it also saves energy. Recycling a million laptops is equal to saving the annual electricity use of 3,500 US households.

Recycling has become an industry

laptop recyclingConvenient and easy to understand procedures make it easy for eco-citizens to recycle. Recycling laptops, aluminum cans, and plastic bottles preserve natural resources and create jobs in the recycling industry. States such as Pennsylvania requires that laptops be recycled rather than discarded because:

  • Technology advances so quickly that laptops are obsolete within a few years.
  • Laptop owners usually replace the unit within three years.

The California Prison Industry Authority (CALPIA) has an e-waste recycling program that includes accepting laptops at life-end. Inmates learn valuable skills in refurbishing usable computers and how to safely handle parts for proper disposal.

The EPA also recommends that customers check the credentials of local electronic processors before dropping their laptops and other e-waste.

Participating in recycling programs, such as the one offered by Planet Green, is easy and rewarding. Our recycling program started in 2000 and has been growing ever since. It is a convenient initiative that encourages individuals, sports teams, businesses, non-profit and religious organizations to fundraise for their cause by recycling e-waste. Like many Americans, we care about the environment and its preservation.

Start raising funds for your cause!

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