10 Surprising Facts about Electronic Waste

Just about everyone today is familiar with the concept of electronic waste – old, end-of-life discarded electronics.  Some of the most common items in this category include cell phones, laptops, printers, and fax machines but the term essentially encompasses any discarded item that uses electricity.

Most likely everyone reading this has had a need to properly dispose of a no longer needed, no longer working, or no longer useful electronic item at some point.  And, as you probably already know, the proper disposal of electronic waste is a huge environmental issue. Taking the time to dispose of your electronic waste in an environmentally responsible way can be inconvenient at times, but if you take a look at these statistics below you can see exactly how important proper disposal is.

  1. The United States produces more e-waste annually than any other country. The amount of electronics that Americans throw away every year? 9.4 million tons.
  2. Recycling one million laptops saves the energy equivalent to the electricity used by 3,657 U.S. homes in a year, according to the EPA.
  3. For every one million cell phones that are recycled, the EPA states that 35,274 lbs of copper, 772 lbs of silver, 75 lbs of gold, and 33 lbs of palladium can be recovered. For those not familiar with palladium, palladium is a precious metal using for making electrical contacts, as well as surgical instruments and parts for watches.
  4. Only 12.5% of e-waste is recycled, according to the EPA.
  5. Based on e-waste disposal rates, Americans throw out phones containing over $60 million in gold and/or silver every year.
  6. Recycling circuit boards can be more valuable than mining for ore! One ton of circuit boards is estimated to contain 40-800 times more gold than one metric ton of ore. There is 30-40 times more copper in a ton of circuit boards that can be mined from one metric ton of ore.
  7. According to the United Nations, 20-50 million metric tons of e-waste are discarded every year.
  8. Old television sets as well as CRT (cathode ray tube) monitors contain approximately 4-8 pounds of lead, a neurotoxin. Improper disposal means this toxic substance can leach into the ground.
  9. It takes 530 lbs of fossil fuel, 48 lbs of chemicals, and 1.5 tons of water to manufacture one computer and monitor, according to the Electronics TakeBack Coalition.
  10. In 2014, 41.8 million metric tons of e-waste was shipped to developing countries, creating not only a dumping problem in those countries, but also utilizing resources to transport the waste to countries around the world.

There are many companies around the US that specialize in the recycling, refurbishment, and redistribution of end-of-life electronics, and we think that is awesome! In fact, we love this idea of responsibly ridding the planet of e-waste so much that we’ve developed a business management system with companies exactly like yours in mind.

The Vested Group has built a solution on the NetSuite platform that meets the challenging, industry specific requirements of organizations in the electronics recycling, refurbishment, and redistribution industry.  Our NetSuite based electronic recycling and refurbishment solution, reVESTED, features modules that address contract and commission management, triage and auditing, refurbishment and repair, data destruction, and distribution or recycling.  The Vested Group has worked with multiple electronics recycling and refurbishing organizations and has several years of experience in this field.  If you would like to hear more about our solution and how it works with your specific processes in mind, contact us today to learn more.

We’ll focus on helping you run your business, so you can focus on saving the planet.

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