Electronic waste has a high impact on the environment in a few ways. Because of the high rate of discard of electronics the volume of waste is high, and increasing, creating bigger and bigger problems. Often this waste is sold or dumped in developing countries, creating an international problem. Some of the materials are recycled for profit, but this comprises a very small percentage of what is discarded. Toxic and carcinogenic chemicals leak out of these electronics, making people sick and causing cancer. This happens both when people remove parts to sell for profit, and when the toxins flow into the environment, making animals sick and contaminating drinking water.
electronic waste is quite detrimental to the environment. while decomposing, harmful chemicals used in the electronic components can leach out into the ground and can poison nearby plants, groundwater, and therefore animals. if not disposed of properly, this electronic waste can wreak havoc on areas that these are left to rot at. recycle any electronics if you can instead of throwing them in the trash. it may take extra effort but its worth it down the line.
Electronic wastes such as old computer monitors and hard drives have a lot of heavy metals such as mercury, cadmium, and lead. Many also contain precious metals such as gold. We throw out and recycle 20 to 50 million metric tons of e-waste every year. It is very important that these heavy metals stay out of the natural environment to prevent lead and mercury poison for animals and humans and to prevent the wasting of these valuable metals. Also, to produce new products that ultimately end up as e-waste in the next few years takes immense amounts of fossil fuels, chemicals, and water to produce.
The most immediate effect of the recycling of E-waste is the burning of the plastics. This is a cheap way to say it got recycled. The plastics are used for fuel, but hey, about half are flame retardant. The value of burning returns perhaps 5 cents / pound of value. About the same as coal burning. But the actual replacement plastics the next time around have a value of over $1.00 per pound. So burning (called smelting too) is really a very bad thing when we could have used cheaper coal. So its the immediate CO2. Burn a billion pounds a year of plastic thats how much each year.
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