I can’t find any dates but I think that as soon as computers and cell phones became big, the necessity of e-waste recycling became obvious. California had an e-waste bill back in 2003 that sellers of certain electronics had to charge a recycling fee on their products. This was landmark legislation at the time (and still is ahead of the curve) so it shows that, while recycling existed, not enough was happening.
50 million tons of e-waste is still thrown out per year.
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