It's a fact - electronic products are becoming obsolete more quickly. And if you are like most consumers, you can rattle off a list of electronic gadgets that you have replaced with next generation products. These obsolete products may be gathering dust in your homes or may be slated to go to the landfill if you throw them away.
In 2005, the EPA estimated that unwanted electronics represented 1.9 to 2.2 million tons. The majority of these products, about 1.5 to 1.9 million tons, were discarded in landfills with only 345,000 to 379,000 tons recycled. The end result isn't pretty. E-waste is toxic and 40% of heavy metals - such as lead, mercury, cadmium - in our landfills comes from the disposal of electronic equipment.
The problem is only growing. In another report, the EPA estimates that 30-40 million PCs are ready for end of life management - a single CRT monitor contains 4 to 8 pounds of lead. This doesn't even address what will happen when the switchover to digital television happens in early 2009.
And it's not only our landfills we should be concerned about. Not all of the products that enter the recycling stream are disposed of properly. Hundreds of thousands of tons of electronics are collected for recycling end up overseas. They flow legally or illegally into regions like China, Asia and West Africa where salvagers can often be seen in electronic graveyards breaking products down by hand to extract metals and glass - ultimately exposing the worker and the environment to a toxic chemical cocktail.
By bringing the earth-friendly ecoNEW recycling and trade-in program to market, NEW has demonstrated its commitment to safely reduce the amount of e-waste that is rapidly filling our landfills and being exported overseas.
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