With technology advancing as fast as it is, we tend to forget about the old technology and what happens to it. The U.N. estimates that worldwide we're disposing of 20 to 50 million tons of electronic equipment each year. What makes this kind of waste a problem are the unforeseen dangers that lie within. Each piece of equipment can contain numerous toxic and hazardous materials including lead, cadmium, chromium, mercury and many synthetic chemicals that are persistent pollutants. This means that the pollution can stick around for years and accumulate in animals and people and can cause serious health problems.
Elizabeth Grossman has a book called High Tech Trash that discusses the many dangers of this “e-waste.” I personally never thought about all the things that can possibly hurt the environment with my old gadgets being thrown out. If you are interested in learning about all the hazards, then a copy of this book would probably be a great start.
[Island Press] [UberGizmo]