According to the article http://www.designnews.com/article/189753-Do_You_Know_Where_Your_E_Waste_Is_Going_.php, more than 50% of e-waste generated in the U.S. and Canada is being sent to India, China and Africa. The main reason being that it is much cheaper to dispose it there than to do it properly in their own country. Many people from the countries that receive this e-waste work as backyard recyclers where they rummage through the pile of e-waste disposed there to find materials that are recyclable. Improper handling and exposure to toxic wastes are constant issues for these people handling that kind of waste.
Some of it is recycled, but a large portion of it (~50%) is exported to developing nations such as China and India, where they practice “backyard recycling” which is harmful to humans and the environment. It’s much cheaper to do this than dispose of it at home in a safe manner.
I’m not sure if there is a standard practice throughout the country that dictates what we do with our e-waste. There are a number of electronics stores that will take and handle e-waste as well as a number of non-profits that are established to receive and donate used electronics. One organization, E-waste America, is hoping that in the near future legislation will be introduced to regulate and ensure sustainable and and sound disposal practices.
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